How To Install Themes In Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04

If you are bored with default Ambiance theme and icons in Ubuntu 14.04, why not try changing icons or the theme completely? In this article, I am going to show you how to install themes in Ubuntu 14.04 and Ubuntu 16.04.

Update: If you are using Ubuntu 17.10 or 18.04, the steps are slightly different. It is better to read this article to see how to install themes in Ubuntu 17.10.

Install a theme in Ubuntu 14.04:

First thing, of course is to get a good theme. You can try any of these 5 best themes for Ubuntu 14.04, but in this tutorial, I’ll use Numix. It has an appearance of iOS, to an extent. I am going to show you the installation of a theme with Numix theme and Unity Tweak Tool. If you are using Gnome instead of Unity desktop environment, you can use Gnome Tweak Tool.

Before we see the installation process in text, I would like to introduce you to our YouTube channel that has video tutorial of theme installation in Ubuntu. Do check it out if you prefer videos:

Install Unity Tweak Tool:

Open a terminal and use the following command:

sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool

Please note that Unity Tweak Tool is available in software sources of Ubuntu 14.04 but you might have to install it via a PPA in older versions. For GNOME, see how to install Numix theme in Ubuntu GNOME.

Install the theme:

Now this is tricky here. Numix can be easily installed through a PPA. But if you have downloaded the theme in zipped folder, extract the content in ~/.themes directory. If you don’t have such directory, create one.

To install Numix theme in Ubuntu 14.04 via PPA, use the following command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:numix/ppa

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install numix-icon-theme-circle

Change the theme using Unity Tweak Tool:

Once you have installed the theme or extracted the content in ~/.themes directory, start Unity Tweak Tool. Go to Unity Dash and search for Unity Tweak tool:

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Unity Tweak Tool in Ubuntu 13.10

You’ll find the Theme option in the Appearance section.

Install a theme with Unity Tweak Tool in Ubuntu

Once you have selected the Themes option, you will find all the themes present in the system here. Just click on the one you like. It will be changed instantly. If you want, you can choose to change the icons only from the Icon tab. I prefer to keep the default icons supplied with the theme.

Install themes in Ubuntu 13.10

And here is a screenshot of Numix theme in Ubuntu 13.10. The image is compressed a lot but you can still see the beauty:

Numix theme in Ubuntu 13.10

That’s it. That is all you have to do to install Ubuntu desktop themes. Now, if you are wondering where can I get Ubuntu themes, I would suggest you to look on Gnome Look. Most of the GTK based themes will be supported in Unity. Stay tuned for upcoming article of best themes for Ubuntu 14.04. Any questions, suggestions are most welcomed.


  1. Sir, whatever theme I get here on your blog for ubuntu works well, but I choose any theme from gnome look or other places, it won’t work properly. I am using ubuntu since many years for web development but still can’t figure out what the hell is gnome and gtk3 or gtk2 is :(. Please help me to figure out the right theme for 16.04 from gnome-look.

  2. I did everything you said but when i go to themes in the unity tweak tool there is not numix there… HELP

  3. how can i cange the currnet 14.10 theme, i want to reduce the size of title bar and menubar, so i can get more space in browser and working windows

  4. I got an error message and it didn’t install into unity tweak, so I went to the Numix website via the line here. The installation script was slightly and the install completed.


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