Gnome Shell extensions to change the look of your desktop

Gnome Shell has developed massively since it’s release in 2011. Played in no small part to developers who design and publish extensions on . With over 950 extensions (and counting) to add or change functionality to the shell, you can design your workflow to your needs. However we’re going to look at those which change the look as opposed to adding features.

User Themes

Rated as the most popular, this is the the obvious choice to come first. It enables the shell to be themed with compatible gtk3 themes loaded from the user directory, This extension is must have for some eye candy goodness.


Set different wallpapers for different workspaces. Switching workspaces invokes a clean fade into a different wallpaper.

Bing Wallpaper Changer

This extension will fetch bing and display the image of the day from Bing.

Screenshot from 2018-07-16 11-25-47

NASA APOD Wallpaper Changer

Like the bing wallpaper extension, except this will show the NASA image of the day. to use this extension you will need to apply for an api key from NASA here. Well worth it as some of the images are stunningly beautiful.

Google Earth Wallpaper Changer

If outer space is too far then the Google Earth wallpaper will keep you closer to terra firma. It Fetches a random Google Earth wallpaper and sets as both lock screen and desktop wallpaper. It’s able to view location on Google Maps, Bing Maps, Gnome Maps and OpenStreetMaps.

Screenshot from 2018-07-16 11-33-56

Gnome Tint

This extension creates an overlay that that tints the entire desktop. Perfect if you want to reduce a colour level.

Screenshot from 2018-07-16 11-35-37

Glassy Gnome

A tool to change the transparancy of gnome windows.



Blurs the background and/or the panel when in the activities overview, a good looking extension that keeps the users focus on open windows and icons instead of the wallpaper.

Screenshot from 2018-07-16 11-50-15

Activities Config

Change or remove the activities icon or text, disable hot corners and open the overview if no applications are open. This extension does more than change the look of the activities button but also the panel.

Screenshot from 2018-07-16 11-56-59

Coverflow Alt-Tab

Ok you could argue that this one does add features, but it also does change the look and is one of the best extensions in my opinion. Bring back compiz style effects with this alt tab window switcher, it’s also highly customisable through gnome tweaks.

Got a favourite extension to change the look of Gnome Shell? Let us know about it in the comments below.




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