RV Window Coverings for Temperature Control

RV Window Coverings for Temperature Control

RV window coverings are ugly.  New or old, they are all ugly.  No matter the make, model or year, I have never seen an RV that I would be happy living in untouched.  The wallpaper and curtains are the biggest culprits and, fortunately, easy to change.

RV Camper Insulated Window Curtains

My husband bought our current home on wheels while I was suffering with horrible morning sickness.  We knew we needed a larger rig to accommodate a baby, but I couldn’t stand traveling to shop for one.  I looked at campers on Craigslist, and he went to evaluate their structure and working order in person.  Then one day he came back with a 2003 Mirage by Thor 5th wheel.  When I stepped inside for the first time, I immediately ripped down all the curtains.  They were THAT ugly, so this is the only ‘before’ picture I have that shows a curtain.  The good news is that the windows didn’t have cornice boxes.  Those are a huge pain to recover!  These RV window coverings were simply hung with Velcro, something I was familiar with from our first camper.

RV Makeover

How to Make Insulated RV Window Coverings

In our previous RV, there was very little real estate for curtains or a means to hang them.  My solution was to hem a rectangle and staple Velcro directly to the walls.  I’m sure there is a classier way, but I was running out of patience and budget.  Fabric can be expensive, and campers have more windows that you think.  The fabric I chose was upholstery grade with a felt back which made it awesome for maintaining the temperature inside.  It was a bit plain, so I added a lighter weight patterned fabric across the top.

RV Window Curtain

When we decided to stay in Phoenix, AZ for a summer, I upgraded the window treatments again by adding a layer of Insul-Bright directly to the windows.  Insul-Bright is a polyester fabric woven with mylar that reflects heat back where it came from.  I simply cut the material to fit each window and adhered them with self-adhesive Velcro dots so that they can easily be removed when parked in nicer weather.  A staple held the dots on the fabric.  Don’t try to sew them because the glue on the dots will gum up the needle and jam your machine.  I may or may not have learned that through experience.

RV Window Curtain

When we decided to add an air conditioning window unit to that camper, I came up with a RV window covering solution – cut a hole in it!  It turned out to be one of my favorite projects.  When you have to have an eyesore, put pretty things around it, right?

RV Window Curtain

Our current RV came with semi-circle wood pieces fixed above each window with Velcro on the front edge.  All I needed to do was make curtains with the coordinating Velcro piece sewn across the top.  Apparently I like green because I chose that color fabric again.  While upholstery weight, this fabric is not backed with felt.  To beef up the insulation, I sewed Insul-Bright directly to the curtains this time.  I prefer this method because it is easier to open and close the curtains for day and night, but applying Insul-Bright directly to the windows was more effective at managing the temperature inside.

RV Window Curtain

Tip:  Do NOT use your good fabric scissors to cut Insul-Bright.  It will ruin them.  Again, I may or may not know this from experience.

You’ll see more of the RV window curtains as I keep working through our RV tour.  There are 13 windows to cover in this camper!  Four of them can be seen in the nursery alone.  Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below.  I’m always happy to answer them!

RV Window CurtainRV Insulated Window Curtains

If you like this, you’ll love my post on Quilting in a RV and How to Replace the Faucet in a RV.

More Great RV and Camping Ideas



51 thoughts on “RV Window Coverings for Temperature Control”

  • OMG Velcro! What a lightbulb moment! I’ve been looking for an 8 foot tension rod for the curtains across the front of my class c. Velcro will be so much cheaper and easier than what I was trying to do. Thanks so much for the suggestion.

      • Hi, I certainly appreciate this helpful information.

        I have been living full time in a 2008 Monte Vista 5th Wheel RV with four slide outs.

        I like the accordion shades…but…it is time to add some insulation to these windows. Some of these windows already have Velcro inside the cornices. I’m thinking sheers over the accordion shades. Then panels with thermal backing, and your description of the Insul-Bright sounds like exactly what I need at the door window.

        Your suggestions have several Ideas…

        Totally agree, ugly decor. Thank you for sharing your experience…

  • We actually have pleated shades but I need something to insulate under and I think your insol-bright with dots would be perfect. Thanks for the idea.

  • Which side of the insul bright goes against the window to keep heat out? Do you reverse the insul bright to keep heat in? Thanks!

  • I’m new at this, but the first thing I did was rip the curtains off, ugly and covered too much window area and provided NO insulation. Thanks so for the tips!!

  • I travel with fabric glue that comes in handy for many things, including getting velcro to stick to walls (vs staples). But when traveling, we all have to do what we have to do. As you also like to quilt, don’t forget you can also create cute wallhanging quilts (or quilt tops) for window coverings too!

    QuiltShopGal
    http://www.quiltshopgal.com

  • Hi there! We’ll be travelling allover the country this coming year in our travel trailer. I really like your insul-bright ideas, but was wondering if you ever experienced condensation on the insides of the windows. Did you use them in more humid environments, or just the desert?

    • We did have condensation on the windows when it was very cold outside and the furnace was running. During those times we left a window cracked, and it helped a lot.

  • Thank you for your great post! I love your no nonsense approach. I have a 15′ travel trailer that my hubby, myself and two dogs will soon be living in full-time. I was looking for ideas on insulating the windows and came across your site. I was wondering if insulbrite was effective and you’ve answered my question, thanks. In case you’re curious, I’ve remodeled out camper, and managed to fit a washing machine and dishwasher in our tiny house on wheels, I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Thanks for the great ideas. My Shasta trailer is small but has lots of windows. The old drapes fell apart when I washed them. I have fabric for the windows but the original drapes were gathered on the rod. Is Insul Bright too thick to gather? Would it protect my inside fabric? Does it last in the sun?

    Thanks so much for helping with suggestions.

    Maurine

    • Insul Bright is pretty thick, so it probably won’t gather much. It will protect the inside fabric and last in the sun perfectly.

    • Oh, yes! Insulation over the windows helped a great deal while we were parked in the snow. It lessons the amount of condensation too.

  • I recently purchased a 99 Solaris Sunliner, 21′ long, to living in. The curtains, blinds, and boxes at the top of the windows are hideous. I am not super crafty, but working on it. Do all 3 layers need to be replaced or can your idea work for this as well?

    • Hi Julie! Congrats on your new purchase. You could place the Velcro under the box, which would be a cleaner look than mine. I’ve seen where some folks have recovered the boxes, but I’ve never tried it. If the blinds are in good shape, you could even leave those, then Velcro the coverings on when you are parked in extreme hot or cold weather. The awesome part of using Velcro is that they can be easily removed or put on. The more layers the better for temperature control. Just cover up the ugly 🙂

  • My wife made something similar for me and my truck windows. She made a template the shape of the windows, then quilted some fabric together. Then I picked up some small magnets from an auto store. She then made some small pockets to attach the magnets around the fabric covers. So when we stop I put the covers up in the windows. Keeps the sun and prying eyes out. Keeps the cab cooler if sittting in the sun also.

  • Wow, I see alot of things posted here. I guess the main convention is window coverings. We bought our final RV a few years ago. 36.5′ Sierra made by forest river. 4 slide outs. Our living room has 6 windows and our hallway has 1 window. With these 7 windows we bought 5 black-out drapes that we cut up sewed up and repurposed. They are also insulated. We actually kept the window boxes and decorative side curtains and blinds and just added our new drapes. Our kitchen / dining area to include the front door has 4 windows. I ordered some nice camouflage pattern curtains and cut and sewed them to fit. We added them on curtain rods to the pre-exsisting window treatments. My wife had some curtain material and made the final treatment to cover the 4 bedroom windows and back door window. We are also full timers living in southern California. The heat has been in the triple digits here. Remember that these are RV’s and nothing is as insulated as the dealer claims. Ours is supposed to be a 4 season RV, yet when doing some remodeling we found that the manufacturer completely left out insulation on both front corners of the RV and around the refrigerator compartment. So as you are insulating check your exterior facing walls for temp. Difference also. During our remodel I have added insulation to the inside of the walls where I have found it missing and I found some “Faux Stone” material that also doubles as insulation. It installs as a wall covering. Works great. Our RV came with one not sufficient AC in the kitchen area and pre-wired for another one in the bedroom. This fall I am installing a new ducted 15000btu AC unit in the bedroom and bringing our portable into the living room. That will make a big difference. RV’s are already tight on space so there are some things you just need to stick to the design like the ceiling AC units -vs. floor or window models. And the 3 ceiling vents we have I am going to replace with remote controlled vents with rain sensors. The only thing slowing me down is trying to find everything for reasonable prices. Because of that you need to think outside the box and get creative. I have been getting pretty creative on our remodel. I am also going to add foam insulation on the exterior walls behind the drawers in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. That will also help improve temp. Control without being noticed. Hope I helped to shed a little light on the subject. Velcro is a great to have item in the RV. And as far as temp. And sound barriers I use the stuff made for car & trucks. Also good stuff. Safe travels.

  • I live full time in a 24 ft Dutchman 5th wheel in the mountains of Colorado. This will be my 3rd winter in my little home. But, as always trying to improve the warmth inside during our winters here. I’m thrilled to have found this site and to learn about the Insul-Bright. Needless to say, I’m getting enough to do all my Windows and curtains for this winter. Also thinking about putting some of it on the floor of my slide under my couch hoping to make where I sit a little warmer this year as well. Last year I added new curtains that are supposed to be thermal, but they didn’t work like I had hoped. Bet they do when I add the Insul-Bright to them. Thanks for your wonderful suggestions.

    • Wow, Colorado is beautiful! I’ve also seen where some folks line the back of their cupboards with reflectix for insulation. I haven’t tried it but have heard it helps too. I’d love to see your curtains when you get them done!

      • Hi Mike. The window coverings help a great deal with moisture during the winter. Any place where you can stick insulation the better, like the back of cabinets for example.

  • I love the ideas above. I have an Air stream and there is a curve to the wall that makes curtains hang 3 inches away from the wall. I will be doing velcro tab at the bottom too. Making covers for son’s Land Cruiser camping vehicle with magnets . Also a great idea to cover windows in a rental with velcro or tiny push pin at the top that you can take and use again at next rental or home. Even thinking of a tab in the middle side of window so you can over half way while in PJs or too tight neighbor rv park.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *