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If you're not loving the cornices, valances, or curtains in your camper or motorhome, try one of these ideas to give your RV windows a new look!
Welcome to RV Inspiration!
I'm so glad you've ended up here! This blog is all about making your RV feel more like a home.
Watch this video for a taste of what you'll find here:
At RV Inspiration, you'll find RV organization hacks, mods to make your RV more useful, decor ideas to help you personalize your camper, tips for living in an RV, and inspiration for a complete RV makeover.
This guide to RV window makeovers will show you lots of ways RV owners have replaced or recovered their RV window treatments. Ideas include no-sew curtains, traditional curtains, and ideas for covering or even painting the factory-installed valances / cornices. Read on to be inspired!
Upgrading RV Day / Night Window Shades
If you want to keep the factory-original look of your RV but upgrade the quality, a company called ShadePro offers quality day/night shades that can replace worn out shades. You can read more about them here.
Replacing Original Window Treatments with Traditional Curtains
Factory-installed cornices (sometimes called valances–I had to look up the difference to be sure I was using the correct term!) can be easily removed and replaced with regular curtain hardware and traditional curtains, although floor-length curtains purchased from a store may need to be cut and hemmed to be shorter.
If you're not sure how to remove your cornices, you can watch Eric of mountainmodernlife.com demonstrate how to remove them this video:
Below you can see some traditional curtains installed in RVs.
One trick that can help make your windows look bigger is to mount the curtain rods along the tops of your walls instead of just at the top of the window, as seen below:
Combining patterned curtains with white curtains or sheers allows you to introduce a pop of color without making your decor too busy, which can make a small space feel too cluttered.
Mimicking the Look of Draperies
The owner of this RV is a fan of Victorian style decor. He created a luxurious feel by completely covering the walls of his dining slideout with full-length curtains.
White Sheer Curtains
Sheer white curtains can help a brown RV feel lighter and brighter without having to paint the walls or cabinets.
White curtains made from sheets
White curtains create a look similar to sheer curtains but will give you more privacy when they're pulled closed.
The white curtains in the photo above inspired me so much that I decided to make white curtains for my RV, too! I made mine out of white twin-sized bed sheets from Walmart.
RV Hack: Using Command Hooks to Hang Curtains
When I made my curtains, I realized very quickly how time consuming it can be to install curtain brackets for so many windows. I came across an idea from an RV owner named Vanessa of using Command hooks to hang lightweight curtains as a way to avoid drilling more holes in the wall and makes for easy installation. (I don't think you'd want to try this with heavy draperies.)
I borrowed Vanessa's idea and used adhesive hooks to hang my curtains, too. However, I made a mistake in forgetting to account for the width of the drawer knob finials on my homemade curtain rods which I made by staining dowel rods, and the finials kept the hooks from reaching the wall.
I was determined to make it work, though, and ended up actually hot gluing the hooks to the tops of the day/night shades (being careful not to cover up the screws in case I need to remove them for any reason). This created a little more space for the finial.
My Verdict: Use regular curtain brackets instead.
I have to confess, after a while some of these hooks ended up falling down and had to be put back up, which was kind of a pain. I think if I had it to do over I would just go ahead and install regular curtain brackets. There's no need to worry about using them, since the screws used to mount curtain brackets are much shorter than the screws used to hold the cornices removed from the same spot.
A Successful Example
Later I came across this photo from Tiffany Mass, an RV owner who used Command hooks to hang her curtains, that actually looks great and seems to have worked. So maybe it's worth a try!
No-sew RV Curtains
If you can't sew but don't mind a DIY project, here are some curtain ideas that don't require sewing.
No-sew curtains made from bed sheets
RV owner Danielle cut up inexpensive bedsheets from Walmart to make curtains for her whole RV. By cutting the open the ends of the top of the sheet, a pocket was created for hanging the curtains, and to hem the raw edges, Danielle first folded and ironed them flat, then used No-Sew fabric glue to keep them folded in place.
Hanging curtains with drapery clips
A super easy to hang curtains without sewing or gluing a pocket for the rod is to use drapery clips.
RV owner Tara Medlin used pillow cases folded to the right length to make these pretty curtains for her RV. You can see more pictures including some close-ups of how she made them on her Instagram page.
My mom used pillowcases as curtains in her kitchen windows, too. These are vintage ones that were hand-embroidered by my grandma. If you like the vintage look, you can find a lot of pretty vintage pillowcases at Etsy.com.
RV owner Susie Crabtree used dishtowels in the same way in her RV kitchen.
Framing RV Windows with Wood
Several RV owners have covered their RV windows with real or faux wood to make them look more like windows in a house.
The first RV owners I saw do this were John and Robyn Crowhurst. John used real oak to frame two of the windows their 1990 toy hauler, and Robyn's dream of cooling a pie on her windowsill finally came true.
RV owner Brooke Seaman framed the window of her travel trailer with real wood as well. (Believe it or not, this is the same RV as the one with the burlap curtains pictured earlier! She often gets tired of how she's decorated and enjoys redoing everything. 🙂 )
The owner of this RV, Melissa Escobar, used Timberwall brand peel and stick shiplap lumber to frame her windows. (I just love her DIY copper pipe curtain rods!)
Non-permanent RV Window Makeovers
If you want to personalize and brighten your RV but are worried about making any changes that can't be undone, you might consider one of these ideas.
Pinning fabric over RV valances / cornices
RV owners Kristin and Erica pinned new fabric onto their cornices.
RV owner Yvette did something similar by using thumb tacks to attach a valance to her window cornice. Upholstery tacks could be used the same way (they are spiral shaped so they won't come out as easily as thumb tacks might). Then she hung curtains inside the cornice boxes using easily removable tension rods.
RV blogger Heather did this as well, and to me the result looks just like real curtains because of how she bunched them up as she went. You can read about her no-sew method in this blog post.
RV owner Cathy pinned lace table runners to her cornices, using a butter knife to tuck the ends in at the edges. She also used tension rods to hang the lace curtains from under the cornices.
Cornice / Valance Makeover Ideas
Hanging curtains behind the cornice / valance
RV owners Jenn and Penny worked with their RV's original decor by hanging curtains from a tension rod under the original cornice. Penny also added battery-operated lanterns on hooks, which she says she takes down while the RV is moving.
Recovering the cornice / valance with new fabric
RV owner Juanita stapled new fabric over her cornices and tucked it in along the curved edge using a butter knife. She started by covering each cornice with fabric cut from a cheap white bed sheet to make sure the original pattern didn't show through, then added a second layer made from a pretty tablecloth.
Here are some other RVs with recovered cornices:
Painting the fabric window cornices / valances
RV owner Lisa actually painted the fabric of her cornices using flat latex paint before adding curtains underneath. She used the same red paint on the chair in the second picture, as well. If you're new to the idea of painting fabric furniture, you can read this article to learn more.
Remaking the cornices / valances
RV owner Donna removed the puffy valances that came with her RV (which she described as “80's prom dress”) and made her own cornices. She used 1″ x 4″ lumber for the ends of the cornice boxes and attached lightweight luan with a pin nailer for the top and front. She then stapled fabric over the entire cornice and glued lace to the front. Finally, she hung them using “L” brackets and hung curtains from tension rods inside.
Here is a tutorial for a similar method for building a cornice (only this tutorial uses thicker wood for the front–you could easily use luan instead for lighter weight). If you don't plan on using tension rods, you can make a lighter weight fabric covered cornice out of foam using this tutorial, or even using recycled cardboard by following these instructions.
Another idea is to install a cornice box like the ones added to the RV pictured below. Here is a tutorial for making one yourself. You could even use polystyrene foam molding to reduce weight. If you prefer a more rustic look, these DIY aged wood cornices might be a good option.
DIY Shades and Blinds
RV owner Debbie Watt covered her park model RV's cornices with fabric and turned cheap mini blinds into pretty Roman shades using this DIY method.
Here is what it looks like on the back to give you an idea of how it works:
Wood Blinds and Curtains
The wide-slat residential blinds and curtains used in this RV give the room the look and feel of a real house.
RV owners Kim and Jason built this wood valance for their RV by attaching old barn wood to their RV's factory-installed cornices. The barn wood was screwed in from the back so the screws wouldn't show. They then hung curtains made from canvas painter's drop cloths from their RV's original curtain rods using drapery clips.
Other Unique Ideas
RV owner Brooke hung a garland made out of strips of torn fabric across this window to complement her bedroom's decor.
RV owner Madeleine replaced the screens of her camper with lace, gluing the fabric to the inside of her window frames. A similar (but easily removable) idea is to use a homemade starch mixture to paste lace to windows, resulting in a frosted privacy window effect. Find out how here.
You could also do away with window coverings altogether and apply removable privacy window film that lets light in but can't be seen through, like I did for this window in a house we rented:
Need more RV decor inspiration? Check out these articles: