This article is part of the Linux Desktop Themes series:
Linux is awesome. It has open code and is community driven and versatile. And, best of all, it’s customizable. You can take it apart, swap things around and make it your own.
One particular type of customization that stands out the most are GUI themes (and in this case GTK themes). Theming your desktop environment does a lot. It can make your desktop a refreshed and completely different experience.
How to install GTK Themes
There are two different ways to install GTK themes. You can install the theme to the root theme directory which will make your new theme available to all users on the system. Alternatively, it’s possible to just install the theme to your home directory for your own use.
For example: If you wanted to install the Iris Dark theme, you’d go to the download page and get the theme’s .zip file. Once you have it downloaded, extract it, move the folder to your home directory and open a terminal window.
Installing GTK theme system wide
sudo mv ~/gtk-theme-folder/ /usr/share/themes/ -r
Installing GTK theme for one user
mv ~/gtk-theme-folder/ ~/.themes -r
Note: The .themes folder is hidden by default. If it does not exist, create it.
Once your theme is installed, you can go to the System Settings to change the theme.
Are you picky when it comes to GTK themes? Are you interested in a more modern style theme? Here’s a collection of some of the best designed, sleek and modern GTK themes on the Internet.
1. Iris Light
Iris Light is a flat, clean and modern theme that is beautiful, simplistic and elegent. It supports both GTK 3 and GTK 2 (by making use of the Murrine engine).
Numix is a modern, dark flat theme. It’s brought to you by the Numix project. This theme has excellent support for Gnome, XFCE, Unity and Openbox. It’s compatible with GTK 3 and 2.
Ferret is a clean and compact theme. It’s based on the Orchis GTK theme (created by Moka). It supports GTK 3 and GTK 2 (by using the Murrine theme engine).
4. Polar Night
Polar Night is an modern-looking dark theme. It’s made for Unity but works with other desktops, too, and is very elegant and clean. It supports GTK 3 and GTK 2.
Cenozoic is a clean, beautifully designed theme. Cenozoic is based on the Adwaita OSX theme. It has support for both GTK 3 and GTK 2.
There you have it: five great-looking GTK themes for Linux. With these themes, you’ll be able to make your Linux desktop a lot better than it looked before. Of course, these are just five themes. If you don’t like any of the themes in this list, don’t worry!
There are a whole bunch of great-looking themes just waiting for your discovery on the Internet. Not sure where to find GTK themes? Check out Gnome-look.org and Xfce-look.org. These two websites have many, many themes to choose from.
Do you have a favorite GTK theme to suggest? Tell us in the comments!