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it comes to particular games, anime or My Little Pony (I will always be fond of Fluttershy even though it’s horribly out of date now – RIP Fluttershy).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

Air

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.

Air download link

Metro

Metro

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.

Metro download link

Plexed

Plexed

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.

Plexed download link

PixelVision²

Pixelvision²

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.

PixelVision² Steam forum link plus download info

Steam Customizer

Steam Customizer

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):

Steam Customizer

Annnnd another in more of a sage green restful combo:

Steam Customizer

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.

Steam Customizer site

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

26 Comments

  1. Beefenstein says:

    “A theory of interior design as applied to online gaming hubs”

    In this paper I plan to explain how colour, contrast, shape, form, and design combine to produce an individualised environment adaptive to the ergonomic and aesthetic needs of an individual who ‘games’.

    My primary source is the seminal paper by Warr (2017) which elucidates various formats of design for the general consumer. It is safe to say that this is both an important source and also personally important as it opened my eyes to the potential beauty of these ‘gaming’ hubs.

    However I didn’t finish this paper because I was playing Rocket League.

    I will now feign a crippling mental, physical, emotional and indeed existential disability so that you can take this into consideration and let me pass the course anyway. I mean I’m paying for this shit and the lectures are terrible and why don’t you just let me pass…? … I mean…? really???

  2. Lomion says:

    Well played, but perhaps too close to what my actual students write. B-

    • Beefenstein says:

      I am your students. We are all false approximations of vague mental states arising from the sins you committed in past lives. Every time you curse us you curse yourself. You are trapped here in an eternal recurrence until you make peace with your own failures.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Fallingbadgers says:

    Ornament is not only produced by criminals, it itself commits a crime – Grand Theft Loos

  4. Beefenstein says:

    I quite like the sage green one. It is indeed restful.

  5. bob22 says:

    I actually had no idea you could skin steam. I mean I have no desire to, but interesting none the less.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I was a bit surprised to see an MLP reference on RPS. That said, Pinkie > Flutters.

    Anyway, I had no idea it was possible to reskin steam. Now I’ll have to look into it when I get home.

  7. brucethemoose says:

    Aww, I was hoping the screenshots would be of your library.

    I’ve always wondered just how many games show up in an RPS journalist’s list, and if the UI can even handle it all.

    Also, looking at someone’s Steam library is like looking into their soul.

  8. JackMultiple says:

    Do any of these skins let you *ZOOM the friggin’ nanite-sized font in the Store? Because if not… PFFT!

    *(ZOOM means to make larger, not go faster, kids)

    • Raoul Duke says:

      Not just the store, but the basic games list – it’s painful to read on anything with a decent pixel density.

      Anyone?

  9. crazyd says:

    It feels like there hasn’t been any decent new Steam skins in a decade. I feel like I’ve been using Metro for about that long, and I know Air was available when I first got it. Not that Metro’s bad or anything, but as a UI guy, it feels old to me. Hopefully the eventual Steam UI Refresh does a good job of making it feel more modern.

  10. Nihilexistentialist says:

    I abandoned Metro for this: link to github.com

    It’s more modern and fits Windows 10 better. Also the customization options are nice. Metro, as its name implies, simply seems outdated at this point. Certainly not bad but not what I would have included for a modern native Windows theme.

  11. Sly-Lupin says:

    All of the skins I’ve tried are inferior to the default Steam overlay. Including many of those linked here.

    I just don’t understand why people are are sacrificing clarity and efficiency in favor of bigger icons and flashier text. It’s why I’m worried about this new UI update that’s coming for Steam… last major UI update I had to deal with was when I bought a PS4, where Sony ditched the extremely functional, efficient and intuitive XMB interface and replaced it with something much cruder that–superficially–resembled the UI of a smartphone.

  12. Kunstbanause says:

    I installed the vapor: link to editor.steamcustomizer.com

  13. Chiron says:

    Life is to short to bother.

  14. Ghostwise says:

    IMO Pressure² has a more structured and sharply-delineated appearance than Air, while having a white background for legibility.

    But Pressure²’s colours are simple and utilitarian, rather than pleasant and light as with Air.

  15. Dodgy says:

    Will changing a skin mess up my neatly categorised games? I wouldn’t like to re-list my 600+ games.

  16. stringerdell says:

    Why doesnt anyone create stuff on the internet anymore without begging for a monthly donation.

    • Premium User Badge

      Drib says:

      I’ll create a comment replying to yours if you join my patreon.

  17. bill says:

    Why don’t valve have some system for getting/distributing/selling steam skins on steam?

    I mean, they created the ability to skin steam, and they seem to love the idea of making buckets of money off of selling mostly useless items on steam.. this’d be a chance to do that for something that might even be useful.

    Question: do any of these skins have the ability to fix the UI annoyances of steam that haven’t been fixed for a decade, or can they just change the colors and fonts?
    Eg: can any of them remember my settings PER VIEW TYPE?
    Can any of them remember which non-steam games I’ve set as hidden? Etc..