Redecorating your RV to make it more modern and personalized often starts by swapping out the dated window valances and fabric.
By changing this one common recreational vehicle feature, you’ll instantly transform the whole look and feel of your camper. The best news is that changing out RV window coverings doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming, and most are easy DIY projects.
To inspire your RV window makeover, check out these top alterations that will give your camper a custom look others will envy!
8 Best RV Window Makeover Ideas
1. Remove Valances and Shades and Install Curtains
Taking out all of the valances (also called cornices) and shades from your recreational vehicle windows and replacing them with traditional curtains hung off a rod is the top window makeover for RVers.
The project is not difficult, and there are so many decorative rods and fabrics to choose from so you can easily create a custom look.
You can opt to buy enough fabric to cover the full width of the window and add a blackout lining for privacy and light and temperature control when the curtains are shut.
Another option is to use decorative fabric curtain panels on the ends and place sheer curtain panels on the inner portion for soft filtering of daylight, which provides a layer of privacy after dark.
The key to a nice-looking RV window curtain that doesn’t encroach on the limited interior space is to choose wall-hugging hooks or brackets to hold the rods. The closer the rod hangs from the wall, the easier it is to keep the curtain from flapping out into the way during daily RV living.
I use large cup hooks to hold the rods, so my custom RV curtains hang a mere 3/8-inch from the wall. When I close the curtains the air gap in front of the window is so small that my insulated curtains act as a barrier to light and hot or cold temperatures.
Many RVers love using removable adhesive hooks to hang rods close to the wall, or traditional metal curtain rod brackets that are only about 2-inches long versus the standard 4-inch.
Depending on your window location you can also opt for ceiling mount curtain rod brackets which can help you position the curtains closer to the wall.
Please watch the style of any curtain rod you choose that includes finials. Often the finials are large, round, or bulky and won’t let you install the rod into the hooks because they hit the wall.
Look for finials that are smaller or flatter so they can fit flush with the wall and not interfere with rod installation.
What’s great about redoing windows with curtains is that you don’t necessarily need to sew or pay someone to stitch up your favorite fabric.
No-sew options include using rods and clip-on hooks for a fast way to avoid the need for hemming. Use pillowcases, twin-size sheets, even towels like linen versions for the kitchen, and fold over the top before clipping if it’s not the right length for your window.
I only use clip-on hooks in my RV so it’s much easier to remove the curtain for a wash every year without having to remove the entire rod from the wall.
TIP: For curtains in your RV you plan to open and shut often, invest in better quality hooks. The metal wire holding the hook to the ring is very thin and easier to break under heavy use on the less expensive brands.
If you need to trim and hem your curtain fabric to fit the window more precisely, you can still avoid sewing.
Purchase some iron-on hem tape, available at discount retailers or fabric stores, to finish off any raw edges by folding them up, sandwich in a length of the hem tape, and adhering them in place with heat from an iron according to directions.
Of all the options for RV window makeovers, adding curtains is one of the most flexible choices for those who love to decorate seasonally or for holidays. You can collect an array of easy-to-store curtain panels and switch out the colors or patterns whenever you get bored.
2. Replace Worn Day and Night Shades
Factory-installed RV day and night shades are not always of the best quality, and can quickly become dirty or damaged, especially if you travel with pets.
The material of the pleated shades is very thin and papery. Once the material appears worn, it drags down the look of your whole RV.
Replacing tattered shades with higher-quality versions will makeover the look of your windows and you can opt for ones that provide better light control, or choose colors that better suit your decorating aesthetic.
You can also choose to forgo the dual day/night style and go with a full pleated blind that will give you the privacy or light control best for your RVing lifestyle.
Another option is to leave some windows with no shades at all if you want a full view of the outdoors and it doesn’t create privacy concerns.
Swapping out the shades is a simple task, but do expect to pay around $50 per window for a high-quality replacement.
3. Modernize Valance Design
The curved, padded, fabric-covered valance is the bane of most RV designs and dates the look of even the newest of campers.
The purpose of the valance is to hide and protect the day and night shades that most RVers love, so keeping some version of a valance is important.
The way to make any RV valance look more modern and sleek is to swap out the bulky old versions with wood that you can paint or stain to match your camper’s decor.
Using wood keeps the lines clean, and allows you to add extra features, such as a small rail or shelf to display trip souvenirs or family photos.
If you want to make your RV have the feel of home, trimming out the entire window in wood will give it that residential feel. As most RV windows are not square, you may have to slightly cover the curved corners with the wood slats to make the trim look good, but doing so will transform the look of your RV interior.
Depending on window height and location, you can also add and increase the width of the lower sill to create an additional table or low shelf for additional functionality.
4. Replace Window Treatment Fabric
Original RV window treatment fabrics tend to be very neutral in color tone and have a subtle pattern so they will appeal to a wide range of buyers.
The truth is that these drab fabrics add nothing to an RV’s design. Replacing curtains or valance fabric with material more suitable to your taste will give you a chance to showcase bolder colors and patterns that will bring personality to your camper.
Changing stiff, heavy curtains to a material with more drape instantly modernizes the look of RV windows. Adding sheers is another way to add brightness to dim RV interiors without losing privacy.
Upgrading valance fabric is not difficult and you can find RV valance recovering tutorial videos to help with the project if you’re unsure what to do.
In general, it takes no sewing and few tools to DIY a valance makeover. Once you remove the valance from the wall bracket, you can use a flat-head screwdriver on the backside to pry out the staples holding the fabric in place and use a staple gun to attach the new material.
How to Re-Cover RV Window Valances (Video)
5. Go With Wood, Bamboo, or Unique Fabric Shades
Changing out your camper’s day and night shades to more traditional shade versions will eliminate that “RV” look and make your camper feel more homey.
You can enjoy the clean look of roller shades, but upgrade them by covering the cheap-looking vinyl with a thin fabric of your choice. Burlap with a fine weave looks very rustic and farmhouse, while stripes or florals will make your windows pop.
You can attach the material to the front of the roller shade using a spray adhesive or fabric glue, smooth it out, allow the glue to dry, and trim off the excess from the edges.
Adding a fun trim along the bottom edge finishes off the look.
You can watch a video on how to fully replace the vinyl if you want to use a thicker fabric for the project.
You can also makeover RV windows by removing roller or day/night pleated shades and installing wood slat or bamboo blinds instead. These two options transform the look of the window and will allow you to eliminate any fussy curtains or valance for a much cleaner appearance.
How to Recycle Roller Blinds DIY | the Carpenter’s Daughter (Video)
6. Add Window Clings for Privacy
Decorative window clings are a lesser-known option for RV window makeovers that are low cost and provide many benefits that include:
- A layer of privacy
- Reflects UV rays
- Lowers heat penetration through the glass
- Requires no glue or holes for installation
- Easy installation and removal
- Comes in a range of designs
Using window clings in RVs is ideal for windows you don’t want to add curtains or shades too, but you still want either a level of privacy or to lower heat penetration on sunny days.
You can choose designs that allow more or less light filtering, or ones that are full of color and have the appearance of stained glass.
Most window clings have a frosted or wavy background that prevents people from having a clear view inside your RV, but many have slits of clear in the pattern to give you the ability to still see outside if necessary.
The installation of RV window clings is simple. Start by measuring and cutting the window cling material to fit.
After that, you need to clean the window well, mist the surface with water, apply the cling, and push out any air bubbles. Once the water dries the material will stay in place until you remove it in the future.
WARNING: Be aware the tinted reflective window clings often state you can see out, but people cannot see in. During the daylight this is true, but at night people can still see inside your RV if you have lights on.
7. Install Shutters
Removing all the top-heavy RV window treatments and switching to side-mounted shutters is a unique look that will make your camper design one of a kind.
You can find new shutters in just about any size at home improvement or window covering stores, or hunt for them at thrift stores or flea markets. If you’re handy you can also buy some hinges and wood and DIY shutters to your exact specifications.
If you don’t want to have to worry about unfolding shutters over a wide window, you can choose to hang the panels on a rod with barn-door hardware and slide them over into position when you want privacy inside your RV.
While not all of your camper windows will have the space or size for shutter installation, even adding one or two will transform the look of your RV.
Do have a secure lock or clamp on your wood shutters so they don’t bang around during travel days and possibly break the window.
8. Showcase Your Artistry With Fringe
Skip curtains you need to slide open and shut, or blinds or roller shades that need constant adjustment, and instead consider remaking your RV window coverings out of long strands of fringe you can buy pre-made or create from just about any type of material.
Highlight a feature window in a beach-themed RV with thin strands of bamboo or shells hung across the glass, or use macrame cording or pom-pom strands for a bohemian vibe.
Using found objects or recycling items you use on your camping trip is another option. String together bottle caps, wine corks, fishing bobbers, or even short pieces of plastic straws.
Glue or wire the strands of fringe to a standard metal or wood curtain rod and hang it above any RV window that needs a makeover.
Fringe covering a window is very unexpected, but adds a layer of privacy along with a heavy dose of personality!
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Don’t be afraid to turn your RV into a space that makes you feel happy while camping. Custom window makeovers don’t need to cost a fortune but can go a long way towards making your RV feel less cookie-cutter and way more stylish.
When you take the time to swap out dated, boring, or damaged valances, blinds, or curtains in your camper, you’ll find this simple fix instantly upgrades the look of your RV making it more cheerful and functional.
I do hope the ideas above inspire you to rethink your boring RV window treatments and turn them into something fabulous instead!
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide