The Best Steam Skins

This is how I've customised my Air skin

Steam skins let you change up how your Steam client looks. Some are pretty much just recolouring options while others want to have their wicked way with your menus, refining or rejigging them. Skins have been around for years now so you might have encountered some of these already – certainly, the community has clustered round a few good skins with a smattering of irregularly updated fan service when it comes to particular games, anime or My Little Pony (well hi there, Fluttershy). But there’s a chance you’ve missed out – or you’re hankering for a change of digital scenery – so here are five of the bestest best Steam skins.

Blue Pulse

Blue Pulse

I really like a midnight blue theme for my Steam at the moment. I was using a My Little Pony one – Princess Luna – for a while because it had the right shades. Unfortunately it wasn’t updated for Big Picture mode so the button for that is on the top left overlapping with the Steam main menu. Gross. I lasted a week and switched back to Blue Pulse. It’s a simple skin and rather lovely. The darker palette is one I’m far more comfy with on my desktop – I find it far more welcoming than the next option.

Blue Pulse download link

Air

Air

I’ve seen a lot of people in love with the Air skin. It’s a minimalist, bright ‘n’ breezy overhaul of the interface with lots of aqua and pale grey. I do really like the menus and a lot of the design work, but can never seem to get on with the colour palette. Its brightness is just a bit too harsh for me so I tend to go back to my dark Steamcave. That said, I noticed that the latest version has a dark option which is much more my cup of tea. You can see it in action in the header image where I also replaced the aqua with rose accents.

Air download link

Metro

Metro

Metro is somewhere between classic Steam and Air (Condensation, maybe?) and so I find it to be a better fit for me. There’s not quite so much empty space and it still has that feeling of familiarity I crave thanks to the grey colour palette. There are also some degrees of customisation when it comes to accent colour and font and so on via a web app and a Steam app.

Metro download link

Minimal Steam

Minimal Steam

There’s also Minimal Steam which is back at the darker end of the spectrum, although you can switch between red, green, blue and black colour palettes. I prefer the red because it’s like trying to play games from inside a red velvet cake, although I’m not massively keen on the fonts. I tend to use it as a visual palate cleanser for when I need to shake the dust off my virtual surroundings a bit.

Minimal Steam download link

PixelVision

Pixelvision

Pixelvision is another skin which seeks to simplify the Steam interface. I find the text uncomfortably small so I don’t use it but there are a lot of enthusiasts out there for whom that’s not a problem. It’s no longer being maintained by the creator so bear in mind that unless the community steps in, future Steam updates might render some of the functionality broken. Aficionados might like to keep an eye on work-in-progress [I LIED IT IS OUT NOW] Pressure as a potential replacement.

Pixelvision download link

Let us know what you’re using for your Steam skinning needs in the comments…

From this site

50 Comments

  1. tengblad says:

    I didn’t even know you COULD change Steam skins. This is pretty awesome! Gonna install the AIR skin straight away, I never really liked the black and grey of the default skin.

    • ObiDamnKenobi says:

      I didn’t know there were skins either. And saw that you can create groups for games??! When did this happen? crazy

  2. RealoFoxtrot says:

    I might suggest looking at Pressure. It’s got a strangely appealing design that looks more crisp than the standard steam, but also feels… well, in general like everything has been laid out better link to hydra.tf

    • Philippa Warr says:

      Yeah, Pressure’s the one I recommended as an alternative to PixelVision

      • RedViv says:

        It is probably my favourite one yet. Even better than Pixelvision.

        Also, it’s not work in progress now! Release was earlier this month. :D

        • Philippa Warr says:

          Oh cool, I totally missed the date and took the “work in progress” text as still applicable

          • SominiTheCommenter says:

            Damn, I really should read RPS at work.

            It’s true that Pulseh no longer updates Pixelvision, but the community has already stepped in. Mr. Late, CaptainMagma and myself are keeping the fire burning on GitHub, here:
            link to github.com
            You can report any bugs there, or even send us pull requests if you want to help too, all are welcome.

            As for the font size, Pixelvision is customizable, and there are already tweaks for font sizes 4 points larger, just as easy as deleting 2 characters from a text file. If you need any help, come pester us at Github!

    • lordfrikk says:

      I absolutely love the looks but I can’t quite understand why is there an ugly light colored bar on the game pages in the library (the one under the part with links like Community Hub, Forums etc.).

      • RealoFoxtrot says:

        Honestly, i think it looks lighter cause of the gradient on the bar above, but yeah it is a bit weird how it just stops. Then again, the Avatar is also in line with it

    • LionsPhil says:

      That is quite pleasant.

    • Demon Beaver says:

      I tried Pressure, and while it’s gorgeous, I have a bit of trouble with the font size. Do you know if there is anything to do about that? Nothing in config.ini about the text size of the library, and it’s really hard to read at high resolutions

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Going to give Pressure a shot when I get home tonight & see how I like it.

  3. JayArr says:

    I switched to Metro when Pixelvision got dropped, and really liked it. However, just a couple of days ago, I found out that somebody has picked up with Pixelvision 2 – link to steamcommunity.com – so I’ve gone back to that. I’m not sure how actively it’s being updated though.

    • TimRobbins says:

      I came to post the same thing, that’s what I use as well. The last update push was 8 days ago, so still quite actively updated.

  4. Rizlar says:

    So many of them seem to think full-strength coloured text is a better idea than steam’s very slightly subdued colours. Knock it back a bit, guys! You won’t really notice the difference since colour perception is all relative and it would be way kinder on the eyes.

    Blue Pulse has really harsh contrast but Minimal Steam probably wins (loses?) this contest by having full strength red text. D:

  5. Jalan says:

    Sticking with the default, as I have no ambition to try to work up one of my own and the choices available just don’t cut it. A vast majority of them are outright ugly or, as Rizlar mentions, don’t seem to grasp the concept of subtle/subdued design compared to what you’re given by default.

    • caff says:

      Same here. I keep trying these skins, but within a few seconds I always end up going back to the original. It’s clean, there’s no garish fonts, it just seems quite chilled out.

    • Chiron says:

      Much like my desktop, Steam is something I spend a minimal amount of time actually looking at, its covered by other things so its left as default.

      • Caerphoto says:

        Likewise. I had to check just now to see what my desktop wallpaper even is, given it spends almost the entire time covered by actual useful stuff.

  6. Grizzly says:

    For reasons I am not quite clear on yet, this made me re-install winamp.

  7. Dezmiatu says:

    Is there any way to enlarge the text in steam? That’s a more pressing concern for me.

    • HidingCat says:

      Yes, but you’ll have to edit the .css files manually.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        That is incredibly anti-user anti-friendly.

      • Ryuuga says:

        This used to work for me, but some time ago (6 months?) steam started checking all files on launch, found my changed files, and reverted the changes. I surmise this has to do with keeping the client secure or something.

        Unfortunately, however, it also means that the font will still be unreadably tiny, unless I am close to the screen, which I usually am not, as I’m on the couch (busted hip, can’t sit that long, gotta lie down, standing only works for so long).

        The lack of customizability in the Steam UI is appalling. I imagine anyone with poor eyesight would face the same problems, too.

  8. montorsi says:

    Pink Steam, best Steam. I was not aware this was a thing – thank you.

  9. padger says:

    Whoa, this is news to me.

    \pink/

  10. WeltEnSTurm says:

    Air Classic is the best one.

  11. NathaI3 says:

    I just wish skins would do more for functionality. How great would it be if modders could change the interface, say, to allow nested groups in the library? Or stop games you already own appearing in the Store?

    That being said, there are some really nice skins that make Steam look a whole lot more appealing. Until Valve add a new feature, completely breaking the skin until the creator updates it to include the new button in the correct place.

    • Premium User Badge

      BlueTemplar says:

      You probably want Enhanced Steam then.
      http://www.enhancedsteam.com
      In addition, by browsing Steam sites with a full-blown browser you get such nice features as proper tabs, and the ability to use steam search as a search engine called from the address bar using a keyboard.
      I only use the default client for the Library part now.

  12. Frank says:

    Remind me again when these are integrated into the workshop. The default client is more than good enough for me for now.

  13. Raoul Duke says:

    Are there any of these which actually let you scale up the fonts?

    The biggest issue with Steam is that the UI doesn’t scale. At all. So it still has font sizes appropriate for 1024×768 sized screens, which are borderline unreadable on a modern screen.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Rublore says:

    I love Apparition, but sadly it hasn’t been updated since around this time last year.

  15. zaygr says:

    Is there a currently updated skin that makes it look like 2003?

  16. Chizu says:

    I used pixelvision for ages, but since the guy posted to say he would not longer be maintaining it, I’ve switched back to regular default steam. Pixelvision was for ages the only one I even slightly liked.

  17. Jams O'Donnell says:

    Your pink Air skin is fantastic & I may have to steal it, though I might make it a little more smoky like the pink 3DS.

    Also high five to the fellow pink lovers. \o/

  18. shimeril says:

    I’m using Digitally Unmastered V1.6 which is very green. Hope this link code works, here goes…

    • shimeril says:

      It didn’t. Very green on a black background – soothing for my eyes at least. Ah well, if you are interested you’ll find it. :P

  19. rabbit says:

    1000000000 high fives for Notorious PIP

  20. quarpec says:

    these are all pretty much identical

    why go through the effort of installing a skin when the only difference between vanilla and the “improvement” is a slightly different font, colorset, and circles around the back/forwards buttons

  21. unraveler says:

    No steampunk?