I am trying out tiling window managers like scrotWM, and have noticed that GUI programs start with a "theme" (or lack, thereof) that looks like the bland Redmond theme. Is there a way to specify the appearance/themes of windows in a tiling window manager? Or is it window manager OR GUI toolkit specific? Is there anything I can do? Thanks.


Yes, theming is specific to each particular application (window manager or otherwise). Applications that use the same GUI toolkit usually use the same configuration mechanism to select a theme, so they'll look the same.

Many tiling window managers are designed to have a low visible footprint, so there's not much room for visual theming. Maybe that's why you consider them bland.

  • Thanks for the explanation, but is there anything I can do to change the visual appearance? – hpy Feb 14 '11 at 22:42
  • @penyuan: You need to check the documentation of each window manager. For example, with scrotwm, put color_focus settings and so on in your ~/.scrotwm.conf. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Feb 14 '11 at 22:54

For GTK applications themes can be set in the file ~/.gtkrc-2.0. Mine is


and that makes various applications use the gnome icons. You can see a list of available icon themes in /usr/share/icons/.

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