How to Theme Up Lubuntu

lubuntu-logoLubuntu is best known as a lightweight and speedy Linux distro, but when it comes to beauty and elegant, it is still lacking. Its default theme is rather plain and boring and its library of themes is limited too. Luckily, there are tons of beautiful themes out there that you can use and you can easily theme it up to make it the best looking distro out there. Here’s how:

Change of theme

Open your file manager, in your Home folder, create a .themes folder. The folder will become hidden after it is created. You will have to press “Ctrl + H” to display hidden files.


Go to to search for gtk2.0 themes or to search for Openbox themes.

For this example, I will use the Ambiance theme that is used in Ubuntu. Go to and download the Ambience GTK theme. Extract the tar file. You should see two zip files: theme and icon.

Extract the content of the theme zip files to the .themes folder that you just created. Go to “Preferences -> Customize Look And Feel” (older version of Lubuntu is “Preferences -> Appearance“).

On the window that show up, you should see the newly installed theme on the left pane. Click on the new theme follow by the “Apply” button.


Your window background and style will change instantly to the new theme (note: the window border and panel will remain unchanged).

Change of icon set

Still on the same window, click on the Icon Theme tab. Click the Install button.


Choose the tar.gz or icon theme file that you have downloaded.

Note: In this example, the Ambiance Icon theme is in zip file, which is not recognized by the system. An easier way is to extract the content of the zip file to “/usr/share/icons

sudo unzip -d /usr/share/icons

Your new icon theme should now appear in the Look and Feel window. Choose your favorite icon theme and click Apply.

Change the Panel background

Right click on an empty in the bottom panel and select “Panel Settings”.

Click on the Appearance tab and select “System theme”. Click Close. (Note: In some instances, you might have to select the Solid color (with opacity) option before selecting the System theme option)


Change of window border

If you have noticed, changing the theme does not change the window border. We need to apply a .obt (OpenBox Theme) file to change the window border.

Go to and download the Ambiance obt file.

Double click the downloaded .obt file. It will install itself to the system and open the Openbox configuration Manager. That’s it.


Change of desktop wallpaper

On the desktop, right click and select Desktop Preference. You can change your wallpaper from here.


Alternatively, install feh

sudo apt-get install feh

to set any image as wallpaper from the file manager.

This is the final result:


Wrapping up

While the above procedure is for the Ambiance theme, it should work for all other themes as well. Enjoy.


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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