Is there a way to specify dark themes for the window decorator (Mutter) for just a single application? (Like Sublime Text).

For example, on the screenshot below one window is customized to have a dark decorator, others follow the system adwaita theme.

enter image description here

I'm successfully able to customize whole GTK3 applications. From window borders (Mutter) to the GTK3 theme itself. However, even when enforcing dark theme in all GNOME apps, GTK2 applications still appear with the classic white border. Is there a way to enforce a dark window border for non GTK3 apps?

  • 1
    I searched on this for a bit and did not find any way to do this using GNOME3. I also looked for extensions thinking there might be some way to accomplish it using an addon but came up empty there as well.
    – slm
    Jul 29, 2013 at 18:27

2 Answers 2


You can run this command, and then click on the window you want to have a dark window title:

xprop  -f _GTK_THEME_VARIANT 8u -set _GTK_THEME_VARIANT dark

If you have some mechanism to find the X window id, you can pass that into xprop -id.

  • I suppose this works even on Qt apps? I'll try this at work today and report back. Thanks in advance, anyways! Dec 10, 2014 at 8:37
  • Yes, works with Qt, works with any X11 window. GTK3 app automatically set this property. There is nothing to stop you setting it manually. Dec 10, 2014 at 8:49

It's funny how your question exactly duplicates GTK - Enable/set dark theme on a per-application basis, even your love to the dark theme is there. :)

To summarize, in gtk3 you use settings.ini file to change the default theme of a single application (this is per-user setting), while in gtk2 you used GTK2_RC_FILES environment variable pointing to appropriate gtkrc file.

  • unix.stackexchange.com/questions/14129/… is incorrect. I haven't been able to apply a dark theme to Sublime Text yet. All I have been able to do is change the GTK2 theme (and thus, window borders, Mutter, remains white, making a huge contrast with the content on the window, which is dark). Jul 30, 2013 at 11:21
  • Window decorators with window titles, borders, etc. are created by your window manager, not your application. So to change the window decorator etc., change settings of Mutter. Application itself has nothing to do with them. This separation of window manager style and application style is ugly, but I don't know, if it's possible to do something about that. :( Jul 30, 2013 at 11:42
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    Well GNOME 3 has a property that allows you to set entire windows in a dark colour. Yes, including window borders, just like this 2.bp.blogspot.com/-zpAcxfFhT0s/UGhh6N-380I/AAAAAAAADH8/… (it's small but you get the idea). Jul 30, 2013 at 11:46
  • I got the idea. But after an hour of extensive googling I got no results. I suggest that you rename this question to "How to customize window decorator on a per-application basis for a consistent look with per-application gtk theme in Gnome3?" and make your image appear in the question. There are some words about extended window manager hints, so that application could hint the WM geometry and some settings of decorator, but this seems to be a false trace. Jul 30, 2013 at 12:44
  • Edited, I rephrased it because your suggested title is way too vague and generic for the length of it. Thanks! Jul 31, 2013 at 4:01

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