XFCE is one of Linux’s “boring” desktops. It doesn’t have any fancy effects, it doesn’t use a lot of system resources, and the default themes are nothing to write home about. XFCE’s primary purpose is to get the job done and stay out of the way.
While many love that XFCE has no frills, and stays out of the way, it’s hard not to want to make the desktop look a little more modern. For this reason, we’ve created a list of 6 awesome XFCE desktop themes to install!
Midnight is a dark, blueish theme for Linux that is based on the Arc GTK theme. It’s perfect for XFCE desktop users who love the idea of dark themes, yet want a modern look to it.
Inside of the “Files” tab, look through the different Midnight colors available to download. They have many different choices, which include Midnight Gray, Midnight Blue, Midnight Red, and others.
After downloading the theme, enter the following commands in a terminal window.
cd ~/Downloads tar xvf Midnight-*.tar.xz mkdir -p ~/.themes mv Midnight-*/ ~/.themes/
Or, to access the theme system-wide, do:
sudo -s mv Midnight-*/ /usr/share/themes/
2. Os Catalina Gtk
Os Catalina Gtk is a theme for Linux that mimics the look of Apple’s macOS Catalina. It looks lovely, and adheres perfectly to the design of Apple, especially with a Mac-inspired icon theme alongside it. Os Catalina Gtk is an excellent theme to install for XFCE users looking to replicate the Mac desktop.
To get Os Catalina Gtk working on your system, start by heading over to its page on Gnome-look.org. Then, find the “Files” tab, and click on the blue button next to Os-Catalina-gtk.tar.xz to start the download.
When Os-Catalina-gtk.tar.xz is done downloading, enter the commands below into the terminal window to get it set up on your XFCE desktop.
cd ~/Downloads tar xvf Os-Catalina-gtk.tar.xz mkdir -p ~/.themes mv Os-Catalina-gtk/ ~/.themes
Or, to use Os Catalina Gtk system-wide, do:
sudo -s mv Os-Catalina-gtk/ /usr/share/themes/
Forest is another Gtk theme for Linux that bases itself on the popular Arc theme. However, unlike Midnight, it isn’t solely focused on dark colors. Instead, it replaces Arc’s iconic blue color scheme for various shades of green (forest green, bluish-green,etc.). Forrest is an excellent option for fans of Arc on XFCE who prefer greenish colors to the blue ones found in Arc.
Note: the Forest Gtk theme may not display window manager controls, as the developer has not created an official XFWM theme.
To get Forest working on your XFCE desktop, head over to Gnome-look.org. Once there, click on the “Files” tab, and download one of the available Forest theme archive files to your computer.
After downloading the Forest GTK theme file to your Linux PC, open up a terminal window on the XFCE desktop and enter the commands below to get it working.
cd ~/Downloads tar xvf Forest-*.tar.xz mkdir -p ~/.themes mv Forest-*/ ~/.themes
Alternatively, to use Forest system-wide, do:
sudo -s mv Forest-*/ /usr/share/themes/
Snowblind is a beautiful take on the Materia GTK theme. It sports excellent shades of blue and green and follows Google’s Material Design spec. Snowblind is GTK3-based and targeted at more modern desktops like Gnome Shell and Cinnamon, but still looks fantastic on the XFCE desktop.
To get your hands on the Snowblind theme, head over to its page on Gnome-look.org. From there, find the “Files” tab, and click on it. Then, download one of the various Snowblind theme archives available.
Once the Snowblind theme file has completed downloading, open up a terminal window on the XFCE desktop and enter the commands below to get it set up.
cd ~/Downloads mkdir -p ~/.themes tar xvf Snowblind.tar.xz
For Snowblind Sunset, run:
tar xvf Snowblind-Sunset.tar.xz mv Snowblind*/ ~/.themes
Want to run Snowblind as a system-wide theme? Do the following.
sudo -s mv Snowblind*/ /usr/share/themes/
Juno is inspired by the look of some custom Microsoft Visual Studio code themes. Juno’s design is bluish-black, with various colors like yellow, green, and teal that look good on the XFCE desktop. The thing that stands out the most in Juno is its Mac-like window controls.
To start the installation of the Juno theme on your XFCE desktop, head over to the Juno page on Gnome-look.org, and click on the “Files” tab. Once there, download one of the various TarXZ archives available.
When the download is complete, open up a terminal window and enter the following commands to get Juno set up on your XFCE desktop.
cd ~/Downloads mkdir -p ~/.themes tar xvf Juno-*.tar.xz mv Juno-*/ ~/.themes
Or, to install the Juno theme system-wide, execute:
sudo -s mv Juno-*/ /usr/share/themes/
Redstone is an incredible theme that can turn the Linux desktop into Windows 10. Everything looks like Windows from the terminal to command-prompt and the even the file manager. The Redstone theme is perfect for XFCE users who miss Windows and want to turn their desktop into something that looks very close to it.
To get your hands on the Redstone theme, head over to Gnome-look.org, and select the “Files” button. From there, download one of the two Zip archives to your computer. Then, open up a terminal window and use the commands below to get it set up.
cd ~/Downloads unzip Windows-10-*.zip mkdir -p ~/.themes mv Windows-10-*/ ~/.themes
Or, for system-wide use of the Redstone theme, do:
sudo -s mv Windows-10-*/ /usr/share/themes/
Activating your theme on Linux
You’ve installed some themes to use on your XFCE desktop, but the setup process is not complete. The installed themes must be activated within XFCE’s “Appearance” settings.
To change the default look to one of the excellent XFCE themes on this list, do the following. First, open up “Settings,” and look for the “Appearance” icon and click on it. Then, change the default XFCE theme to one of the themes from the list you’ve installed.
Still not sure how to apply your new themes? Head over to our in-depth guide on how to customize the XFCE desktop environment for more information.
Not the kind of themes you’re looking for? Check out our compilation of 8 additional XFCE themes.