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RV Décor 101: How to Modernize Your Window Valances

Have you ever walked into RVs on a dealer lot and wondered why manufacturers install those hideous window valances? If you’re like us, the first change you make when you buy a new or used RV is to replace those outdated pieces with something more modern and cozy. We’ve done this with our RVs three times, so today, we’re sharing a few replacement ideas for your RV valances, our before-and-after pics, and some tips from our experience. Let’s dive in!

I Decorated my Entire RV | Cheap, Easy, & Painless!

Why Do RV Manufacturers Install Window Valances?

RV window valances help frame the windows by providing a header. These valances also cover the seals and the top of the blinds or shades. Sometimes, legs extend down the windows’ sides below the header to further frame the window. Depending on the quality and craftsmanship of the RV you have, these boxes may cover unsightly gaps in your walls and window frames.

Some manufacturers of newer models are foregoing these attachments. However, you’ll find window valances on almost every window in many RVs, from travel trailers to fifth wheels and motorhomes.

What Makes RV Window Valances So Ugly?

In our opinion, window valances are some of the ugliest decor in RVs. many are dark brown, have strange patterns, and offer no “inviting” atmosphere to your living space. It feels like the room is closed off with these three- to four-inch valances surrounding the windows to block much of the natural light. We think manufacturers use the same valances in many of their units because it’s easier to install the same kind on the production line than to use creativity in the interior design.

Motorhome window interior
Even in new RVs, the window valances can be ugly.

Can You Remove RV Window Valances?

Yes! You can remove your RV window valances. We honestly were nervous at first, as it feels weird taking so much wood and material out of the RV. But once we started, we couldn’t stop. We’ve now removed window valances on all three of our RVs. Turns out, it is relatively easy since they’re just screwed into the RV walls. You don’t need any special tools; just a screwdriver or drill.

If you have roller shades underneath the valances, you may need to remove those first. You can click a small lever along both sides to release the shade. Once you remove the shade, you can easily access the screws securing the RV window valance to the wall. It’s helpful to have another set of hands during this process to catch the valance when it falls. However, if you’re lucky and have a long screwdriver or drill bit extension, you may be able to leave the shade in place.

After safely removing the RV window valances, we have several RV valance ideas to add your personal touches and the space feel more like home.

Pro Tip: Good RV windows can make or break your RV experience. These are the Top Reasons to Invest in Double Pane RV Windows.

before and after rv window valence update renovation idea
We removed the RV window valances in our DRV Mobile Suites fifth wheel to brighten and simplify the decor. It made a big difference!

5 Replacement Ideas for Your RV Window Valances

It doesn’t take long to scan Pinterest to find dozens of RV renovation ideas. But updating your RV by replacing the window valances is a simple, cheap way to make your home on wheels feel inviting. You don’t have to spend hours or hundreds of dollars to make your space feel cozy and residential.

We’ve updated three RVs’ window treatments, and every time we did something different depending on the look, vibe, and shape of the windows. Here are five replacement ideas for your RV window valances.

1. Recover the Valance Fabric

One option is to recover your RV window valances. This is particularly useful when the shades and valances work well together, but you don’t love the color. Perhaps you want to keep the shades and update the look of the valances. You can choose a fun print or bright color to make the space look different while keeping the “bones” of the window treatments. We opted for this in our 2008 Monaco motorhome, and have switched out the red, gold, and brown leaf pattern for a more neutral and contemporary gray.

However, a downside to recovering RV window valances is the time it takes. It’s a lot of work to buy fabric and recover every valance in your RV. Trust us, it’s a lot of staples! We’ll share some more tips on how to recover them below after walking through some of the other RV valance ideas.

Also, valances are still outdated. So, even if you recover them with a colorful fabric or funky design, they might still look a bit old. If you’re going for a more airy, modern feel, you may want to remove them.

before and after window valance recover idea
We recovered our window valances with a more modern and neutral fabric.

2. Replace With Curtains

For our truck camper renovation, we chose to swap the old, outdated valance boxes for curtains. The windows are awesome in the truck camper, and one way to make a small RV feel bigger is with more light. Getting rid of the light-reducing boxes brightened and enlarged the space.

Many people prefer to install curtains when they replace their RV valances. It’s relatively cheap, and you have tons of color and pattern options to choose a fun new look. Choose sheer for an airy space. You can choose a pop of color for an accent or a fun design to lighten the mood.

You can often hang curtain rods using the same screw holes as the window valances. Or you can use Command hooks without drilling additional holes.

Before and after replacing our truck camper window treatment with curtains idea
Before and after replacing our truck camper valance with curtains. So much more airy and bright!

2. Install Custom Shades

You can also install custom shades if you don’t like the standard roller shades by the manufacturer. If you have dated blinds instead, updating them with a more modern look is an easy DIY project that can make a significant difference. Day and night are trendy among RVers because they allow natural light to come in during the day and provide nighttime privacy. You can get these in pleated shades or roller shades. MCD is a popular RV shade brand that even has electric motors for raising and lowering at the press of a button.

Please measure correctly to choose the correct size for each window. Installing the new brackets is simple, but you’ll likely want two sets of hands for convenience.

Custom shades are more pricey and have longer delivery times, but can be worth it. The only reason we didn’t opt for these in the past was due to lead time – we were renovating during Covid-19 supply chain issues and wanted something sooner.

4. Install Residential Blinds

You may prefer to install residential blinds instead of shades or curtains once you remove your window valance. You could also install blinds with the curtains. Using typical blinds in an RV is possible, but you’ll need to secure them during travel. If you’re stationary in a park model trailer, then you’ll have no problems. However, if you’re a weekend warrior going to and from a campground throughout the year, you’ll need to secure the blinds so they don’t clatter against the wall and damage it during transit.

We used two types of residential blinds from Lowes in our truck camper remodel. Bamboo shades are also a popular choice to add a bit of warmth and color to your RV windows.

Residential blinds from Lowes in our truck camper RV.
Residential blinds from Lowes in our truck camper RV.

5. Create Wood Accents

Finally, creating wood accents is another replacement idea for your RV valances. Like bamboo shades, this can create a different look and feel in your home on wheels. You can create cedar valances that frame the window and install custom shades or curtains. You could also create a windowsill with wood that would allow you to set plants or kitchen items on it.

Give yourself an extra shelf for fun, decorative items. Put a shelf above and at the bottom of the frame. This works well along a countertop rather than behind a couch or dinette.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Or Recover RV Window Valances?

Window treatments are some of the most inexpensive changes you can make to update and transform your RV. Gallons of paint can get costly. Ripping out cabinets takes time and energy. However, removing RV valances and installing curtains, shades, or blinds is pretty cheap and straightforward. Recovering may take more time and energy, but it will still be inexpensive depending on the fabric.

Natural Bamboo Roll Up Window Blind Roman Shade...
  • Effectively control sun light and wind in your room. It can be...
  • Made of selected high qulity real bamboo
  • Please note, Do not place your shades in moist, damp...

Since there are so many types of curtains, shades, blinds, and wood, your choice will determine how much your RV window valance renovation ideas will cost. These natural roll-up bamboo shades are about $30. You can find curtains at Walmart for $15 to $30. These RecPro day and night pleated shades will range from $83 to $225, depending on the window size.

RecPro RV Day & Night Pleated Shades Cotton/Tan...
  • Daytime Color: Cotton Sheer Nighttime Color: Tan Stitchbond
  • If returned Items are due to the customer ordering the wrong...
  • Protects against harmful UV rays

Pro Tip: Give yourself some extra privacy in your rig by discovering Can You Tint Your RV Windows?

How to Recover RV Window Valances 

We recovered the window valances in our motorhome and used the following tools:

  • Drill
  • Variety of drill bits – we encountered Phillips, hex, and square bit screws
  • Staples – we used 1/4-inch T50 staples, just make sure they are compatible with your staple gun. You will likely need lots.
  • Staple gun – we highly recommend getting an electric one, it was a wrist-saver! Harbor Freight has them.
  • Staple remover – you can use a screwdriver if you want, but we recommend something meant for the job
  • Pliers – to remove the occasional stubborn staple.
  • Magnetic bowl – this is optional, but we found it VERY helpful for holding all the screws, brackets, and pulled staples to keep things tidy and organized. You can get these for a couple of bucks at Harbor Freight.
Tools needed for recovering your RV valances
Tools needed for recovering your RV valances. Staple gun, pliers, staple removers, magnetic bowls, and staples.

First, remove the valance from the wall. Then, you’ll see dozens of staples the manufacturer used to attach the fabric. Use a staple remover to pull them all out. You might have to disassemble the wood parts. It’s helpful to take a photo of how the fabrics were wrapped so you can recreate it with your new fabric.

Next, you’ll need to cut the new fabric to size. We bought decorative cording for the edges to cover the seams. Staple the fabric, pulling it smooth and snug to eliminate creases and bubbles. Here, you work backward from how you disassembled the valance. This is where we appreciated the electric staple gun: this tool made it much easier and faster! Once we reassembled the box, we reattached the valance with the brackets and screws.

Although there aren’t many steps, this process takes quite a bit of time. It also helps to have an extra pair of hands for the window valance box removal and reattachment.

recovering old rv window valances
Midway through recovering a valance box.

Modernize Your RV With These Valance Ideas

Whether you want to replace your RV valances or are trying to recover them, you can update the look of your RV with a few simple changes. Also, they won’t break the bank. Add a personal touch. Make your RV feel like home. Get rid of those ugly RV window valances and modernize your home on wheels!

Will you try any of these replacement ideas? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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About Cait Morton

Co-Founder, Logistics Queen, Business & Content Manager, and Animal Lover

An Upper Peninsula of Michigan native (aka a Yooper), Caitlin is the organization, big-picture, and content strategy queen of our operation. She keeps everything orderly and on track.

With a background in Business Management, she supports and helps channel Tom’s technical prowess into the helpful content our readers and viewers expect. That’s not to say you won’t find her turning wrenches and talking shop – RV life is a team effort. She keeps the business and the blog moving forward with a variety of topics and resources for our audience.

Believe it or not, she is rather camera shy, though she co-hosts the Mortons’ personal videos and The RVers TV show.

Caitlin’s passion lies in outdoor recreation and with animals. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, biking, and getting out on the water via kayak, SUP, or boat.

She also loves the RV life due to the fact that you can bring your pets along. Sharing information about safely recreating outdoors with your whole family – pets included! – is very important to her. Because of this, Caitlin spearheaded the launch of HypePets in 2023.

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