Plasma is known for being one of the most visually attractive desktop environments for Linux. It’s more than earned its reputation, too. Even the default Breeze theme that ships with Plasma looks great. That’s not to say there isn’t room to customize and improve things based on your own preferences. These Plasma themes capitalize on the great aesthetic that’s already in place and tweak it to create something new and visually appealing for your desktop.
What theme list would be complete without Numix? It’s been around forever, and even though it started out in the GTK realm, the Plasma theme is just as good. Numix, as always, uses more shades of red and orange in its color scheme, making it quite a departure from Plasma’s usual cool tones. Numix also flattens things out to feel more like Google’s Material design than the usual semi-transparent Plasma philosphy.
2. Maia Transparent
If Numix is more of a GTK-inspired theme, then Maia might be the furthest thing from that. Maia Transparent takes Plasma’s native transparency and cranks it up to the max. It makes all of the panes, menus, and window decoration on your Plasma desktop look like glass. That might sound a bit corny, but it really isn’t. It actually gives your desktop a more modern and minimal feel in a way completely different than a lot of other popular themes.
3. Adapta KDE
The Adapta theme is a relatively new favorite in the GTK space. This theme aims to bring everything that people like about Adapta to Plasma, and it does an excellent job of it. Adapta KDE brings a Material-esque look and feel to KDE without ruining the original spirit of Plasma. It utilizes a cool color scheme, like Breeze, but it does so in a way that’s different enough to be instantly recognizable as something entirely different. Adapta with Plasma has an excellent three-dimensional look, too, which really sets it apart.
4. Arc KDE
Yes, this is another GTK favorite that’s made its way to the Plasma ecosystem, but Arc is way too popular to ignore. Arc for KDE looks a lot like it does on GTK desktops, as it uses the same color scheme. There are a few key differences, though. On Plasma, Arc utilizes a small amount of transparency. That doesn’t detract from the semi-Material design. When combined with the icon theme, Arc brings a distinct new style to Plasma.
5. Unity Ambiance
If you’re someone who really misses the Unity desktop environment, look no further. There’s a great Plasma theme that brings the Unity look and feel to Plasma in Unity Ambiance. Since Plasma is so easily customized, you can even arrange Plasma to fit the same layout Unity used to have. It shares the same orange and purple color scheme as the defunct Ubuntu desktop, so you Unity fans should feel right at home.
6. OxyLight 5
Do you miss KDE’s classic Oxygen theme? It’s back in the form of OxyLight. As the name suggests, it’s a lighter weight form of Oxygen for the Plasma desktop. OxyLight 5 looks very similar to the classic KDE theme with all of the glassy transparency that you know and remember, but it has some more modern tweaks, making it the true next evolution of Oxygen.
Helium is a radical departure from most of the other themes on this list. It’s a light, bright, and colorful theme that aims to bring a much more vibrant look to Plasma. It looks a bit like the light Breeze theme, but it amps everything up. The windows and desktop decorations have somewhat of a white frosted glass feel. Combine that with a colorful icon theme, and you’re well on your way to having a truly cheerful Plasma desktop.
Any of these themes would make a wonderful addition to your Plasma experience. Like most Linux desktop themes, these are all free to install and use, so take some time to play around with them and see which fits the style you’d most like for your desktop.
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