There are a ton of amazing themes out there that utilize the CyanogenMod Theme Engine, but it can be hard to sift through all the bad ones. We’ve done the sifting for you with this list of the best free CyanogenMod themes.
For these themes to apply properly, you need to be running CyanogenMod 11 or a custom ROM that supports the CM Theme Engine (like Mahdi or Paranoid Android). OnePlus Ones ship with support for the Theme Engine unrooted, but in most other cases you’ll need to be rooted.
For those craving a Lollipop-esque design, L-Ready Dark certainly deserves a chance. There’s also a light version that inverts certain dark colors, making the quick settings panel and settings app both white.
The best part of this theme might just be the large navigation buttons. Though several other custom themes offer the Lollipop triangle, circle, and square, L-Ready has them sized significantly bigger, which looks much better.
The quick settings panel and notification tray both have mostly transparent backgrounds to give the illusion that they are hovering over your screen, like the notification tray does in the Android 5.0 Lollipop update. The colors are a perfect Material Design muted green, and this theme does the best job of giving you that updated feel.
A lot of hardware manufacturers get flak for their heavy-handed and intrusive Android skins that bloat up the interface and get in the way more than they help. LG tried to tone it down for their flagship G3, and the result is a look that you might actually want to emulate.
For a design with a bit more skeuomorphism (notice the physical-looking switches above in the Settings app) that still retains a modern feel, the LG G3 theme is right up your alley.
The biggest annoyance I had with it was that the notification bar wasn’t shaded the proper shade of grey to match the buttons, resulting in a patchy look, as shown above, but for the most part it did a solid job of remaking that G3 feel.
HoloGlass goes in a direction that no other theme does – it allows you to set a picture that will be the background of several of your apps. With a focus on transparency, any picture can be not only the wallpaper on your homescreen, but also in your Settings app, Phone app, and Messaging app.
Aside from the transparency, it keeps a very standard, Jelly Bean-like interface, as noted by the light blue switches shown above and plain black and white notification shade shown below.
The transparency is really a nice touch, though, and makes HoloGlass stand out in a very crowded arena.
For the color-crazed, look no further than Hazy Smooth White. These theme has color and creativity flowing out of every nook and crevice. It’s certainly a niche theme, but if bright colors are your thing, you’ll love it.
My favorite aspect has to be the unique navigation bar buttons. The back arrow and multitasking circle with the half circle on the side are nice touches that manage to find a nice balance of Lollipop design and its own flair.
It’s a love it or hate it theme, but it can really jazz up your boring black or white smartphone.
Another simple, Lollipop-inspired theme, Material Teal differs from L-Ready in that the Settings app is more blacked out, and the notification shade is more black and white. Otherwise, you’re looking at similar fonts, navigation bar icons, and general feel.
If you were unsatisfied with L-Ready but still want a theme that makes your Android feel newer, try out Material Teal.
It’s also got some different icons, wallpapers, and boot animations thrown in for good measure. To get the most Lollipop-like experience, check out these apps that have been decked out in Material Design goodness.
For a blacked out, colorless design, choose Obsidian. While most black-and-white themes sacrifice design along with color, Obsidian actually improves upon the standard interface, offering nice navigation buttons, tweaks in the notification shade, and nice fonts in the status bar.
The notification shade is semi-transparent, but for the most part, this theme sticks to the black-out motto. The icons in the Quick Settings panel are switched up a bit, but they’re all creative, nice-looking changes.
For those with AMOLED displays, this theme could actually save you a bit of battery — or just use it for the simplicity!
One L+ Grey takes the Material Design/Lollipop idea and combines it with what makes KitKat feel familiar, resulting in a theme that will feel similar, yet more modern.
Colors are pretty muted or non-existent, and the notification shade doesn’t attempt to hover over your screen like some of the other themes. It accepts that it’s not running Lollipop, but it does it beautifully.
My biggest issue was wrestling with the tiny navigation buttons, but if you can tolerate those, you’ll probably enjoy this theme.
Sick of all the darkness in these themes? Pressor is here to help, with a theme that’s mostly white backgrounds accented by grey and orange. It’s different, but not to the point of being bizarre.
The navigation buttons are also quite cool, managing to find their own unique design that doesn’t look tacky at all.
The notification shade and Quick Settings panel, without any transparency, feel very heavy-handed, but it does go well with the light theme.
Simplicity Pine is mostly a blacked out theme, but with a tint of dark green to make it feel a bit more modern.
The navigation bar keys are very HTC-like, which could make it or break it for some people. In general, though, the theme feels very much like a stock KitKat build.
Combining modern design with a blacked out theme, Simplicity Pine is ideal for those who don’t like all the changes made in Obsidian but still prefer a darker design.
What’s Your Favorite CM11 Theme?
There are a crazy number of themes available right now, and more popping up every day — not to mention all the fantastic paid themes.
Which CM11 theme are you currently rocking?