11 Great XFCE Themes for Linux Users


XFCE4 is everyone’s favorite lightweight desktop environment, but because it’s been around for such a long time without much visual evolution, you have to admit that it doesn’t necessarily look that great. So to help you give this trusty desktop a makeover, we put together our favorite XFCE themes for you to try out.

Note: the instructions to install each one of these themes are located on the page they are downloaded from.

1. Axiom


One of the most popular XFCE themes at the time of writing, Axiom is a minimal black-and-white theme that echoes the rounded theming of OS X.

That means corners are smooth, and window icons are small, in contrast to some of the more sprawling Windows-inspired themes in this list. There’s a dark theme and a light one, and it’s given some depth by tasteful, subtle shading around the window perimeters.

Axiom doesn’t affect your icons or your Linux UI layout.

2. Numix


One of the classic themes for XFCE, Numix keeps things very simple with a flat interface that’s easy on the eye. Not everyone will be into its default orange theming, but that can easily be changed to a slicker blue look. Its pleasing, rounded icons make the whole desktop experience feel nice and soft.

It’s very light on your computer resources as well, so should run smoothly on older machines.

3. Boomerang Windows 10


Okay, so a lot of people on Unix-based operating systems are there because they wanted to escape the trappings of Microsoft’s domineering Windows OS. But if you could keep the good bits – like the interface – of Windows 10 while still having the freedom of the Linux experience, wouldn’t you?

B00merang‘s batch of Windows 10-inspired themes are designed for many of the biggest Unix desktop environments, including XFCE 4. The only one that works on XFCE 4 is the glass-themed one, which is absolutely fine if you’re feeling a little nostalgic for that Windows layout.

4. Axe

Axe theme for XFCE4.

Not all of the entries on this list are full themes. The XFCE4 desktop is an interesting one. You can theme the window manager and the panel independently. Axe is one of the many window manager themes in this list.

Axe is a clean and really minimal window manager theme. When it’s not in focus, the entire window is transparent, which is a really cool effect. Want a clean, simple XFCE window manager theme? Check out this one.

5. Tango

Tango theme for XFCE4.

A lot of XFCE4’s window managers that come pre-installed are unimpressive. They’re all old-looking and frankly just not something visually appealing on any level. Tango is an XFCE WM theme pack that hopes to change that.

It’s an elegant, colorful and minimalist approach to window themes. It’s also sort of reminiscent of the Windows 8 window manager. Are you in search of a decent-looking XFCE window manager theme? Tango might be for you.

6. Numix Holo

Numix Holo theme for XFCE4.

Numix Holo is a pleasant re-spin of the Numix GTK theme. The creator of this theme has substituted the famous “Numix Orange” color scheme for a light blue Android Jelly Bean-inspired setup. If you love Numix, but also prefer blue over orange, definitely check out this theme.

7. Ambiance

Ambience theme for XFCE4.

Some people love the default look of Ubuntu. Others don’t. Ambiance for the XFCE desktop is a theme for those looking to make their XFCE session more like Ubuntu. If you think the Ambiance style suits you, this should be your first stop.

8. Macbuntu

Macbuntu theme for XFCE4.

Macbuntu is a suitable XFCE4 theme for those who want to turn their desktop into something very close to macOS. This theme isn’t 100% similar to the way the Mac looks, but it most certainly is very reminiscent of it. Searching for an Apple-like theme for your XFCE desktop? Try out Macbuntu.

9. Rele

Rele theme for XFCE4.

There certainly isn’t a shortage of dark themes. It’s hard to browse xfce-look.org and not run into more than twenty-five dark themes. Still, if dark is what you want, Rele is one of the best out there. The theme uses the darker colors in a really nice way, and everything is really easy to read (which can’t be said about some other black/dark themes out there). Are black themes your thing? If so, you might want to install Rele.

10. XFWM KDE4.8 Oxygen

XFWM KDE4.8 Oxygen theme for XFCE4.

It’s hard to deny that the KDE desktop environment has it right when it comes to their Oxygen theme. Honestly, it’s one of the better default themes out there for Linux. Are you a fan of the Oxygen theme? If so, install XFWM KDE4.8 Oxygen.

11. Win8-FirstTry

Win8-FirstTry theme for XFCE4.

Some Linux users love the way Windows 8/8.1 looks. No, this isn’t a joke! There are dozens of Windows themes for Linux desktops. For those on XFCE, the Win8-FirstTry theme is a good place to start. Be warned, though, as the creator of this theme said it’s his first shot at a theme, so there might be a few discrepancies here or there. Still, if you want your desktop environment to look like Windows 8.1, you should give this theme a go.


Unless you’re content with the content of your computer screen staying stuck in the early noughties, you should give these themes a try to feel a little more ‘current.’ Of course, these aren’t the only XFCE themes out there, just our favorites, so we acknowledge that this stuff is subjective. Have any that you prefer? Let us know with a comment!

This article was first published in April 2015 and was updated in June 2018.


  1. ” it’s the most popular lightweight desktop out there.”
    XFCE is popular. At one time it was lightweight. Now it can only be considered “lightweight” when compared to KDE. Because of feature creep over the years, XFCE has gained weight. LXDE, RazorQT and the combination of the two, LXQT, are all lighter than XFCE.

    “The overall design of XFCE4 seems to be stuck in the mid-90s/early 2000s.”
    Because that is when the last major update took place. If I am not mistaken, XFCE4 predates KDE4.0. While applying new themes may make XFCE bearable, nothing short of a major rewrite will make it look that much better.

    1. Have you ever seen Manjaro’s Menda theme? It’s nothing short of gorgeous.

      1. Does it make the PC run better or is it just eye candy?

        If I want ‘gorgeous’ I’ll go to an art gallery or subscribe to Playboy.

      2. I’ve just had a look at the themes… IMHO the only description is megafugly.

        1. These themes are so ugly I want to smash my computer. What is wrong with you people?

  2. yeah one up for Manjaro’s Menda dark theme.. now off to install in my Xubuntu

    1. Yay! that dark one is gorgeous….

  3. Another vote for Manjaro’s Menda for me … Using it on xubuntu.

  4. Only because you are unable to theme xfce in a modern looking way doesn’t mean it’s design is stuck in the 90s or early 2000s.
    It just means you are using the wrong icons and themes.

  5. XFCE rocks its basically a desktop that is assembled with art you could do in Gimp or Photoshop. Scripting lets the gui know how to arrange the image files which basically makes up the look/feel. So really you could make XFCE look like anything, I have officially dropped all other desktops to go with this.

    1. “So really you could make XFCE look like anything,”
      Which is no great accomplishment. With Linux being what it is, any desktop environment and/or any window manager can be made to look like anything else.

  6. I dunno, maybe its me, but I actually prefer my XFCE in it’s “plain vanilla” state. Mind you…I DO change the Window borders, and a few of the fonts, but everything else in that DE….(which I run using OpenSuSE Linux!) is just what comes standard. Now, while I realize that for some people a computer has to appeal to them visually along with technically?….I just want my computer to work, and so I’m not too interested that much in the “look” of the desktop. I’m more interested in installing / removing applications and keeping my system running as light and as quick as possible. Granted, I’m just different from most others….

  7. Am I the only one that thinks that the Greybird-theme that ships with Xubuntu is the most clean, coherent and beautiful xfce4-theme? I download and try out every distro there is, but I always come back to Xubuntu. Ok, I have BunsenLab installed on a ThinkPad, and kept the original theme there aswell.

  8. Very happy with the standard Peppermint 8 theme, with revival blue icons.

  9. Another Peppermint fan here. Gorgeous OS that just works.

  10. Check out this one also: https://www.xfce-look.org/p/1191436/

  11. Hello, I wonder what is the theme of the first image of XFCE you show us (the one which has “10 Great XFCE Themes” on it)

    Can you enlighten me and explain how you manager to give it such a style ?

    Thank you for your reply

    Best regards,

  12. they are all ugly as hell and just wannabe windows themes.
    i didnt install xfce to get a windows look

  13. I have to say that none of those inspire me. I use Manjaro Xcfe and they made an effort to improve the original look by default. I don’t know why it wasn’t mentioned but for dark theme, “adapta” is still one my favourites. Complement with a nice set of icons, It looks pretty modern.


    You can also check the work of paulxfce at xfce-look.org, like his “xfce-d-pro” theme.

  14. There is a lot of fancy xfce out there.

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