How to Properly Theme KDE Plasma [An in-depth Guide]

If you have been using Linux for some time, you know about KDE Plasma, the desktop environment.

Many distributions ship KDE Plasma as the default (or flagship) desktop environment.

Hence, it is not surprising to find it among the best desktop environments.

KDE Plasma desktop is famous for its endless possibilities of customizations. Not to forget, we have a KDE customization guide to help you in all the different ways.

How do you approach tweaking KDE Plasma’s theme to suit your taste?

Many users fail to understand how KDE themes work. It is not a straightforward process; there’s a Global theme, there’s a Plasma theme, there are color schemes, Window decorations, and so many other things!

How to Properly Theme KDE Plasma [An in-depth Guide]

What is the Purpose of Theming?

Before we go to the theming, we should be clear about the purpose. There are many ways you can theme a desktop, for productivity, nerd theming (for fun), or overwhelming ricing, that may seriously impact the resource utilization of your system.

But, most of the above use-cases have several common aims:

  • A different look and feel to all apps in the system.
  • Easier to get the thing done, or in other words, a better workflow.
  • Taking care of your eyes (sometimes it’s just aesthetic, and you know it!).

Everything depends on user preferences. But you need to have a uniform look and feel. To get that, you need to know a few things…

1. Selecting a Theme for Your KDE Plasma

Coming to KDE Plasma or GNOME, there is no limitation to the availability of themes. Several dedicated sites provide an endless stream of themes that can be downloaded free of cost.

We already have a list of recommended KDE Plasma themes if you want to explore them.

So, what should you focus on when theming your system? Well, there are a couple of things to note:

A. Does the theme has all the components needed?

This is not an issue if you install the themes via KDE System Settings. But in some cases, you may be in a situation where there is only a global theme that does not provide a uniform look for every element on your desktop. You need to keep an eye out for that.

B. Does it have an associated Kvantum theme?

Kvantum is an SVG-based theme engine for Qt5 that gives you great control to tweak a theme.

Suppose you want the ability to tweak things like Window transparency, blur, etc. You might want to select a theme that has a Kvantum theme.

You can find this detail in the theme description from the store you download it.

C. Does the theme have a GTK version of the theme?

It is best to have a theme with both Kvantum and GTK versions because not every app you use will be based on Qt.

Related: Best Linux Distributions Based on KDE

D. A compatible Icon and Cursor Pack?

This is not a concern by itself. Because icons and cursor, for the most part, do not affect the themes. But, it can affect the case of Dark/Light themes. A dark theme often requires a dark icon pack and vice versa for better visibility. The same visibility can be an issue with the cursor colors too. So keep this in mind if you encounter any such problems.

2. Exploring The Global Theme

The global theme can be applied to KDE Plasma in two ways. You can simply apply the global theme. Or, you can change individual Plasma Themes, colors, etc., depending on how you apply the global theme.

Apply Global Theme via System Settings

This is the most common and straightforward way of applying the theme. You need to go to the system settings and from there to appearance. Here, you can find the “Global Theme” Tab. Go to the “Get New Global Theme” button on the bottom right.

How to Properly Theme KDE Plasma [An in-depth Guide]
How to Properly Theme KDE Plasma [An in-depth Guide]Pling, and KDE Store.

This is how the theme descriptions look in those stores. Download the theme you want:

How to Properly Theme KDE Plasma [An in-depth Guide]
How to Properly Theme KDE Plasma [An in-depth Guide]
How to Properly Theme KDE Plasma [An in-depth Guide]best dark GTK themes.

To install GTK themes in KDE Plasma, you must first download them. You ca download the theme, you want. Now, just go to Settings > Appearance > Application Style > Get New GNOME/GTK Application Styles, as shown in the screenshot below:

How to Properly Theme KDE Plasma [An in-depth Guide]documentation for the same.

How to Properly Theme KDE Plasma [An in-depth Guide]When coming to scripts, you should know how to install and change kwin scripts. These are codes written by the community that can enhance the performance of your window manager. So, you should research more about what it does before jumping in.

To install scripts, you need to go to Settings > Window Management > KWin Scripts. There are some pre-installed KWin scripts. But you can download and install other KWin scripts as shown below:

How to Properly Theme KDE Plasma [An in-depth Guide]Kvantum manager.

By default, the Kvantum manager is not installed. You need to download and install it. In my case, I used Kubuntu for this article.

To install Kvantum manager in Ubuntu or other Debian based distros, use the command below:

sudo apt install qt5-style-kvantum

This will install the Kvantum manager. Once it’s done, open it and just peek around the app to explore. Download the Kvantum theme you need.

Once done, you can install it by selecting the extracted folder within the app, as shown in the screenshot below:

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