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it comes to particular games, anime or My Little Pony (I will always be fond of Fluttershy even though it’s horribly out of date now – RIP Fluttershy). But there’s a chance you’ve missed out – or you’re hankering for a change of digital scenery – so here’s an updated list featuring five of the best Steam skins.As always, take care when downloading and installing anything as we can’t guarantee the safety of stuff outside RPS!
Air is a minimalist, bright ‘n’ breezy overhaul of the interface with lots of aqua and pale grey by default. In recent years it has also added a dark option if pale isn’t your cup of tea and has a bunch of easy-to-follow colour customisation options in the config file. Air is my go-to Steam skin when I’m not using the default and I’ve currently got it in light mode with sea green accents to match the work Slack chatroom on my desktop. It’s the image in the header of this post if you’re curious! What do you mean I need to get out more? The other thing I like about Air – and which has not been the case for several other favoured Steam skins over the years – is that the developer has kept it up-to-date, even starting a Patreon to try to make sure the project is a viable use of time. Without that ongoing maintenance skins can become messy as Valve tweak and change the Steam interface.
Metro is somewhere between classic Steam and Air (soooo Mist, maybe?) and I used to use it as my default. There are some degrees of customisation when it comes to accent colour and font and so on via a web app. I reinstalled it to check in and I’m not as fond of it as I used to be but it has an incredibly dedicated following. It’s also one of the few which has been maintained over the years and, like Air, has its own Patreon. I’d say Metro is probably the most popular Steam Skin out there.
Plexed is one of those skins I skipped over because I thought it was pretty close to the default look of Steam but on closer inspection it seems really neat and tidy. What it seeks to do is make the interface a bit sleeker and more legible while riffing on Longhorn (i.e. Windows Vista). That’s why you’ve got the big old back button in the top left. I think for me that makes the skin read like an oddly conspicuous hybrid in some ways and I do like being able to add a splash of colour but you might find it absolutely dandy.
The original Pixelvision was a skin I found uncomfy, mostly because of the small font size, but it has its own group of aficionados. It stopped being updated by its creator, Pulseh, back in 2015 and I think Pressure ended up being touted as a potential replacement. Since I last checked in a new dev has taken on the challenge of keeping the skin up-to-date while maintaining the simplicity resulting in PixelVision². I prefer my Steam skins lighter these days, but it’s a decent darker option if you’re in the mood for that plus I prefer some of the menu organisation.
If you prefer to create funky (and potentially painful) colour combos and font options for yourself there is also the Steam Customizer tool which lets you craft new colour ways for the interface pretty easily. I whipped up this lilac thing just to try it out (although I will likely grow to hate it in a few minutes). If you want you can also download skins other people have created pretty easily.
Here’s another (this time inspired by a sweet I found in my handbag):
Annnnd another in more of a sage green restful combo:
If you want to tinker with it but aren’t confident with colour palettes there’s the Coolers web app here which generates pleasing combos and their accompanying codes.
Let us know what you’re using for your Steam skinning needs in the comments…