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If you’re not loving the factory-installed cornices, valances, or curtains in your camper or motorhome, try one of these DIY ideas to give your RV windows a new look!
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.
Below you can see some traditional curtains installed in RVs.
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 owner Vanessa used Command hooks to hang her lightweight curtains. This is a good way to avoid drilling more holes in the wall and makes for easy installation.
I borrowed her 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. Works for me!
If you can’t sew but don’t mind a DIY project, here are some curtain ideas that don’t require sewing.
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.
One way to hang curtains without sewing or gluing a pocket for the rod is to use drapery clips. RV owner Kristina made the curtains for her home pictured below by hanging white twin sheets using the clips. Excess fabric can be folded over at the top.
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.
These curtains were made by RV owner Brooke Seaman by using clothespins to clip burlap sack material to a piece of wire hung across her windows. If you’re worried about burlap potentially unraveling, you could glue bias tape around the raw edges.
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!)
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 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.
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. Then she hung curtains inside the cornice boxes using easily removable tension rods.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
Another RV owner, Christina, gave the shades that came with her RV a makeover. She has a tutorial on her blog explaining how she did it.
The 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.
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.
Need more RV decor inspiration? Check out some of these easy DIY projects you can make using rope!