7 Great-Looking Gnome Shell Themes

Gnome Themes Featured

Do you love Gnome Shell but hate the way it looks? Don’t worry, the Internet is chock-full of better-looking themes to choose from. There are so many, in fact, that we’ve had to filter it down to seven themes. Here are some of the best Gnome Shell themes you can use to customize your Gnome DE.

1. Prof-Gnome-theme

The Prof-Gnome-theme is one of the best Gnome themes out there. If you are looking for a lightweight and old-school feel for your desktop, this theme will not disappoint.

Prof Gnome Theme

It features two major color variants: light and dark. However, it does offer a variation of the light and dark theme, making the UI elements stand out clearly, giving this theme a very classy-looking touch and feel.

The theme is compatible with GTK 3/4, allowing you to use it even on modern Gnome Desktop versions.

2. Orchis GTK theme

The Orchis theme is another option where you cannot go wrong if you are looking for a rounded-off appearance.

Orchis Gtk Theme

It is a compatible and straightforward theme in various color variants, including light, dark, light compact, dark compact, and many more.

Orchis Color Options

Besides the rounded-off, semi-flat look and style, Orchis also has a stylish, minimal, and appealing look that you can customize further using icon packs such as Tela Icons.

The Orchis theme also comes packaged with a simple bash script installer. This makes the installation fairly straightforward.

3. Nordic

Nordic is a Gtk3.20+ based theme implemented with the Nordic color palette. It gives a very minimalistic and complementary look with its dark color scheme.

Nordic Theme

The Nordic theme also offers variants, including different color accents.

It provides a shell and applications theme, making the overall look feel natural.

4. Big Sur

If you are looking for a macOS feel, we have the best theme for you. The Big Sur theme borrows heavily on the look of the new macOS Big Sur release.

Big Sur Theme

It comes in light and dark color variants, allowing you to complement the Gnome Desktop with a new feel, animations, and a blurry effect.

The theme also supports GTK 3/4. When paired with the perfect icon pack, this theme is unparalleled.

5. Yaru-Colors

If you want to give your Gnome system the classic Ubuntu desktop feel and look, the Yaru theme is your best bet.

Yaru Colors

The Yaru-Colors GTK shell theme offers varying color scheme options, recolored cursors and icons, an Ubuntu-style dock, and snap and folder color change support.

It also comes with a complementary icon theme to spruce up those old Gnome-looking icons. It is compatible and minimalistic, allowing you to customize your desktop without messing up the overall functionality.

6. Layan GTK Theme

Do you want a futuristic-looking, purplish-bluish-blackish-looking flat material desktop look that also has a light scheme color? Then the Layan GTK theme is the one for you.

Layan Gtk Theme

Besides being well puttogether, this theme has a blue and rounded feel, making it one of the best-looking flat material gnome themes. It pairs well with other icon packs, such as the Tesla Icon theme, to give the desktop a fresh look.

7. Ultimate Dark

If you’re feeling in the mood for a dark gnome theme that is also captivating and good looking, Ultimate Dark may be your cup of tea, especially if you are on Ubuntu 21.04, where it looks great.

Ultimate Dark Theme

The theme is easy on the eyes and comes in variants such as Dark, Colored Header-bar, and dark sidebar versions.

How to Install Custom Themes on Gnome Desktop

Most of the themes come with instructions to install it on your Gnome desktop. If not, see the standard way to install custom themes in Gnome below.

The first thing to note is that you can customize either the application or shell themes.

Application themes give the application windows a custom appearance. Shell themes customize various shell elements, including the system tray, notifications, and top panel.

1. To install Gnome themes, we need to place them where the Gnome Desktop recognizes them. This is either the “/usr/share/themes” or “~/.themes” directories.

Placing the themes in the “/usr/share/themes” directory will make the theme available to all users in the system. However, if you want only the theme to be applied to one user, place the themes in the .themes directory in that specific user’s home directory.

To show the .themes folder, you will need to enable “Show hidden files” in your file manager.

For example, in Nautilus, simply press Ctrl + H to enable show hidden files.

Nautilus Hidden Files

You can also run the command below to create this folder from the terminal:

mkdir ~/.themes

2. Install the Gnome Tweak Tool, which allows you to customize the Gnome desktop easily. The easiest way to install the GNOME Tweak Tool is to use the Software Center.

Software Center Gnome Tweak Tool

If you prefer to use the terminal, use the commands:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

3. In Gnome Tweak Tool, navigate to the Extensions tab on the left side. Scroll and toggle the “User themes” options.

Enable User Themes

4. Under the “Appearance” section, you should see the options to change icons, applications and shell themes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where do I find Gnome Themes?

You can find Gnome themes by browsing the catalog of themes developed by the community on gnome-look.org.

2. Can I install a custom theme if I don’t use Gnome Desktop?

Almost each and every desktop environment or window manager supports custom themes, so if you are not using Gnome, you can still install custom themes for your DE of choice. You can look for themes in the respective Desktop Environment theme marketplace: for example, KDE-Store, XFCE-Look, Cinnamon Look and many more.

Wrapping Up

This quick guide discusses some of the best themes for your Gnome Desktop. You can also add Google accounts to your Gnome Shell. Check out the Gnome Themes page to discover more.

John Wachira

John is a technical writer at MTE, when is not busy writing tech tutorials, he is staring at the screen trying to debug code.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox