Gmail’s default colour scheme looks very bright and relatively bland, so what can you do to change that? Well, Gmail has themes which you can apply, changing the background and colour-schemes. You can choose a background image from a selection, you can apply a single colour (including black, allowing you to create a dark mode). You can even upload your own images, so you can personalise Gmail your own way.
To set a theme you first need to be signed in to Gmail, you can be on any of the inboxes. Near the top right-hand corner, there will be a cogwheel, click on this and then on “Themes” near the bottom of the dropdown box.
A popup window will appear with a number of pre-selected options for background images, if none of these options appeal, there are many more available if you click “More Images” a few lines in.
Directly under the more images option are some more simplistic themes. The first is the default Gmail theme, the second is “Dark” which provides a decent dark mode experience for those who are a fan.
You can also add your own background images if you’d prefer them. To do so, you need to have the photo you want to use saved to an album in Google Photos. In the bottom left of the “Pick your theme” popup box is a link to “My photos”, click that to see a list of your albums in Google Photos. To then select a specific picture, pick an album and then a picture and then click “Select”, it will immediately apply as your Gmail background.
Tip: If you just added a photo or album to Google Photos and you can’t find it, try refreshing your Gmail tab.
There are a couple of other minor options available to adjust the photo background. You can set a light or dark text background, which applies to the inbox view. You can also set a vignette effect, darkening the corners of the background image. The final effect is a blur, it is possible to configure how strong the blur effect is to personal preference.
Once all the settings are as you prefer, just click “Save” in the “Pick your Theme” popup box and your settings will be remembered.