25 votes

How do you choose a desktop wallpaper?

I've always found a fresh desktop wallpaper now and then is a good way to stop your PC feeling stale, and keeps me enthusiastic/more productive.

That said, I always have a hard time finding one when the time comes.

Unsplash seems like a good resource, but can feel so impersonal just having a nice picture of some mountains or a field. I have some friends who I know just rock whatever the default wallpaper for the OS is -- I can't verbalize why but something that feels tailored, or an image that brings me some joy, makes me much more comfortable using the computer.

Unfortunately the popular spots online I'm aware of for sharing wallpapers tend to lean toward certain subsets of interests (such as contemporary geek culture and/or lewd anime women) which you may or may not be into.

I've toyed with the idea of just having a solid colour to avoid any kind of decision fatigue, but it feels like staring at a wall - it's nice to have something with some depth behind all the flat windows.

Curious what others here on tildes use for their wallpaper, how often they change it, and where they might source a new one.

37 comments

  1. [3]
    GoodBob
    Link
    Wallpaper Engine on Steam. You can filter out what you don't like and search for the niche things that you do. A month ago I was into a nuclear energy kick so i found a loop of real fission...

    Wallpaper Engine on Steam.

    You can filter out what you don't like and search for the niche things that you do.

    A month ago I was into a nuclear energy kick so i found a loop of real fission reactor's boot up sequence.

    Now i'm on a sci-fi kick and have an Elite Dangerous space station spinning next to a planet.

    I'd say it's some of the best software i've spent money on.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      Tuna
      Link Parent
      Yes, I decided to buy the WE when it was on sale and I did not regret it for a second. There are a lot of themes to choose from and you can find something for almost every niche subject (you only...

      Yes, I decided to buy the WE when it was on sale and I did not regret it for a second. There are a lot of themes to choose from and you can find something for almost every niche subject (you only have to know what to search for).

      My favourite are currently 2 crows sitting on a tree, observing their surroundings.

      Also the moonlight sonata playing with a full moon over a large body of water, which is perfect for taking a short and relaxing break.

      3 votes
      1. TheJorro
        Link Parent
        I checked it out after reading yours and @GoodBob's comments. This is everything I didn't know I wanted. It even takes advantage of Razer Chroma to get my keyboard colours to match! I've been...

        I checked it out after reading yours and @GoodBob's comments.

        This is everything I didn't know I wanted. It even takes advantage of Razer Chroma to get my keyboard colours to match! I've been really impressed by this software, I'm glad I finally checked it out thanks to you two.

        2 votes
  2. [3]
    knocklessmonster
    Link
    I make them. Since I use various operating systems (Windows, mixed linux distros), I usually just theme them around the system it's going on. I'm not a graphic designer or anything, but I like the...

    I make them. Since I use various operating systems (Windows, mixed linux distros), I usually just theme them around the system it's going on. I'm not a graphic designer or anything, but I like the idea of making something I'm going to be looking at often. If I change my Linux desktop theme, I can easily just make a new one, or modify the current one, to have the background match my panel or whatever.

    SimpleDesktops is also a good source for me. They require all submissions to be flat and undistracting. The images are simple enough that tweaking them to match a specific theme or something is easy to do in GIMP, as well. I've got some that are large pattern-based wallpapers that I've made transparent to change the background color on, for example.

    6 votes
    1. joplin
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I make mine as well. There are a number of really simple graphics algorithms that can produce some really neat images. Things like fractals, ray tracers, aperiodic tilings, L-systems, etc. I...

      I make mine as well. There are a number of really simple graphics algorithms that can produce some really neat images. Things like fractals, ray tracers, aperiodic tilings, L-systems, etc. I sometimes implement these things just to learn how they work, and then discover they produce interesting images I can use for my desktop.

      I also use photos I've taken on various trips. These can be meaningful or just pretty. Whatever floats your boat.

      Edited to add: I also have mine auto-rotate once an hour, similar to what others have mentioned.

      1 vote
    2. anothersimulacrum
      Link Parent
      Oh, that simple desktops link is great, thanks for sharing it!

      Oh, that simple desktops link is great, thanks for sharing it!

  3. [2]
    thismachine
    (edited )
    Link
    I just use one of the sunsets that came with desktop Ubuntu several years ago. I customized my Plasma color theme around it, so that's the reason I haven't changed it. I used to use hi-res NASA...

    I just use one of the sunsets that came with desktop Ubuntu several years ago. I customized my Plasma color theme around it, so that's the reason I haven't changed it.

    I used to use hi-res NASA photos. The most recent Jupiter flyby pics are pretty and look really great on high DPI screens: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/images/index.html

    6 votes
    1. alexandria
      Link Parent
      I too use hi-res NASA photos on occasion, even thought as my other comment notes -- I've switched to using Tabliss to manually scrape stuff I like from Unsplash. Those Jupiter pictures are...

      I too use hi-res NASA photos on occasion, even thought as my other comment notes -- I've switched to using Tabliss to manually scrape stuff I like from Unsplash. Those Jupiter pictures are beautiful, thank you!

      3 votes
  4. nacho
    Link
    I'm a big fan of solid colors. A shade of blue, a shade of green, a dark red for a week or two. It really does something about the whole feel of the desktop. Always a different color on a work...

    I'm a big fan of solid colors. A shade of blue, a shade of green, a dark red for a week or two.

    It really does something about the whole feel of the desktop. Always a different color on a work machine from a home machine.

    5 votes
  5. [3]
    Grzmot
    Link
    ArtStation is great if you want to go into the more artsy direction. Currently I have a background by this lady and I think it's gorgous.

    ArtStation is great if you want to go into the more artsy direction. Currently I have a background by this lady and I think it's gorgous.

    5 votes
    1. elcuello
      Link Parent
      Oh I love Aenami and I have also used a lot of her pictures for wallpapers. I'm currently finding mine on /r/backgroundart

      Oh I love Aenami and I have also used a lot of her pictures for wallpapers. I'm currently finding mine on /r/backgroundart

      2 votes
    2. monarda
      Link Parent
      Those are incredible. Thank you for posting them!

      Those are incredible. Thank you for posting them!

  6. [2]
    eve
    Link
    I use usplash lmao. There's like one or two other websites that are like usplash that I'll crawl through for pictures. On my work desktop, I have a folder of succulent/plant images that it rotates...

    I use usplash lmao. There's like one or two other websites that are like usplash that I'll crawl through for pictures. On my work desktop, I have a folder of succulent/plant images that it rotates through. I usually just consider the aesthetic. Or, if I find an artist I like, I'll see how high res of an image I can get from them and use that as my background (unless there isn't a high enough resolution available). My personal desktop is Valley of the Shadows by Eric Bowman. I really enjoy his work, it has a very nice look to it.

    Or, I'll look through subreddits I like, like r/adobeillustrator usually has some good stuff and is generally uploaded at a pretty high quality. It really depends on what I'm in the mood for tbh.

    3 votes
    1. alexandria
      Link Parent
      Yesss. I too use Unsplash and they're beautiful. Tabliss is a really good way of finding them, you can hit the attribution link on the bottom right to go to their page to download them.

      Yesss. I too use Unsplash and they're beautiful. Tabliss is a really good way of finding them, you can hit the attribution link on the bottom right to go to their page to download them.

      2 votes
  7. tomf
    Link
    all of my desktops are just lines -- https://imgur.com/a/y4tBdZg The only bit of desktop I ever see are the gaps between windows. Having a photo is pointless, so I just went with these. With MacOS...

    all of my desktops are just lines -- https://imgur.com/a/y4tBdZg

    The only bit of desktop I ever see are the gaps between windows. Having a photo is pointless, so I just went with these. With MacOS it rotates every hour.

    3 votes
  8. [3]
    deing
    Link
    I really don't change my wallpaper, it's been Bliss or (rarely) a hue-shifted variant of it since 2018 or so, on all devices including my smartphone. It makes me chuckle internally a bit every...

    I really don't change my wallpaper, it's been Bliss or (rarely) a hue-shifted variant of it since 2018 or so, on all devices including my smartphone. It makes me chuckle internally a bit every time i see it, and it really is a damn good wallpaper.

    3 votes
    1. PahoojyMan
      Link Parent
      Bliss since my first XP machine in 2004. I dabbled with some novel wallpaper setups when I finally made the upgrade to dual monitors, but eventually I always came back to Bliss.

      Bliss since my first XP machine in 2004.

      I dabbled with some novel wallpaper setups when I finally made the upgrade to dual monitors, but eventually I always came back to Bliss.

      2 votes
  9. mat
    Link
    I use photos I've taken, I try to take a picture for each season but last autumn/winter was so grim I kept the nice cheery summer one (by all means help yourselves if you like the image). I must...

    I use photos I've taken, I try to take a picture for each season but last autumn/winter was so grim I kept the nice cheery summer one (by all means help yourselves if you like the image). I must go out and take some spring pictures soon, now the blossom is starting to show.

    3 votes
  10. AugustusFerdinand
    Link
    I have a folder of, at present, 345 images that rotate on an hourly basis (Win10) that I've found across the internet over various years. I resize them to fit my display as needed. Some were made...

    I have a folder of, at present, 345 images that rotate on an hourly basis (Win10) that I've found across the internet over various years. I resize them to fit my display as needed. Some were made to be wallpaper, others are great photographs (or occasionally renders) of cars, humorous scenes, or just things that I liked that were large enough they could be wallpaper or resized/cropped to fit.

    3 votes
  11. Pistos
    Link
    I have a big collection (dozens? Maybe over 100? Haven't counted) of wallpaper images I like, and I have KDE rotate every 8 hours (3 a day). I have 3 monitors (not all of them in use all the...

    I have a big collection (dozens? Maybe over 100? Haven't counted) of wallpaper images I like, and I have KDE rotate every 8 hours (3 a day). I have 3 monitors (not all of them in use all the time), and each gets its own image from the collection, each rotates on the same interval. So, with this setup, I don't have to feel anxious about picking just one very good/best image. I like almost all of them in the collection, and every morning, afternoon, night, I get a nice little hit of pleasantness as I'm presented another image.

    2 votes
  12. monarda
    Link
    I set my background to slideshow (changes every minute) and have it pull from a folder where I've saved images I've run across that I find interesting. When I first set it up, I populated the...

    I set my background to slideshow (changes every minute) and have it pull from a folder where I've saved images I've run across that I find interesting. When I first set it up, I populated the folder with paintings I found doing image searches of alien landscapes. Now it has all kinds of things in it, and I like that I never know what's going to show up. I have photos from National Geographic and NASA, paintings of local places that were posted in my local subreddit, fanart. historical photos of places I've lived, photos of animals I've loved who have passed, native art, and so much more. I've made a second folder where retired images go when I have grown tired of them or they contrast poorly with my desktop icons, but I'm not yet ready to let them go.

    2 votes
  13. xxzozaxx
    Link
    I submit a discussion before, maybe some people there put their website, I can't remember. Anyway, Now I use blank grey-ish wallpaper, I used to put wallpaper from wall haven and...

    I submit a discussion before, maybe some people there put their website, I can't remember.

    Anyway, Now I use blank grey-ish wallpaper, I used to put wallpaper from wall haven and /r/Amoledbackgrounds, although I don't have amoled screen.

    2 votes
  14. Saigot
    Link
    Whenever I see an appropriately big wallpaper I like I add it to a folder that I have cycling always. I have 113 currently. I try to choose ones that have something interesting to say about them,...

    Whenever I see an appropriately big wallpaper I like I add it to a folder that I have cycling always. I have 113 currently. I try to choose ones that have something interesting to say about them, art from a game/TV show I liked, interesting moments in history/science/math. it can be a good conversation starter.

    2 votes
  15. mrbig
    Link
    Always solid black.

    Always solid black.

    2 votes
  16. Seven
    Link
    I usually find my wallpapers on various art-related subreddits. I've been really into vaporwave recently, so I've gotten a lot of wallpapers from those subreddits. I use wallpaper engine to put...

    I usually find my wallpapers on various art-related subreddits. I've been really into vaporwave recently, so I've gotten a lot of wallpapers from those subreddits. I use wallpaper engine to put them on my various monitors, even if they aren't animated.

    1 vote
  17. nobody
    Link
    If you're on Linux, you might like a program called Variety. It allows you to automate wallpaper switching in lots of ways. It's been a long time since I last used it though, so I'm not sure if...

    If you're on Linux, you might like a program called Variety.

    It allows you to automate wallpaper switching in lots of ways. It's been a long time since I last used it though, so I'm not sure if it's still a valid option.

    1 vote
  18. Apos
    Link
    I usually make my own, available here: https://www.deviantart.com/apostolique. Right now though I'm working on my game and using the concept image done by Domen.

    I usually make my own, available here: https://www.deviantart.com/apostolique.

    Right now though I'm working on my game and using the concept image done by Domen.

    1 vote
  19. [3]
    Cycloneblaze
    Link
    I usually change my wallpaper whenever I happen across a good one that I like. I don't see it expect when just turning on or turning off my computer, so it doesn't really occur to me otherwise....

    I usually change my wallpaper whenever I happen across a good one that I like. I don't see it expect when just turning on or turning off my computer, so it doesn't really occur to me otherwise. Right now I'm using wavey wallpapers.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      stu2b50
      Link Parent
      This is an issue I'm having. I use to do a lot of wallpaper collecting, but with computers being more and more suited for always on (or on + suspend), honestly wallpapers just don't come up much...

      I don't see it expect when just turning on or turning off my computer, so it doesn't really occur to me otherwise.

      This is an issue I'm having. I use to do a lot of wallpaper collecting, but with computers being more and more suited for always on (or on + suspend), honestly wallpapers just don't come up much for me on personal computers anymore. I leave my Gnome and Windows computers on the default wallpapers, because tbh I legitimately see about 5 seconds of their wallpapers per month.

      I do try and set fresh wallpapers for my Mac, because I use mission control and spaces consistently to navigate windows there, so I do see it flashed a good bit per day.

      1 vote
      1. Pistos
        Link Parent
        I use 11 desktops, so windows covering my wallpapers is not something that happens the majority of the time. If you use one desktop, naturally, your windows are going to cover the desktop nearly...

        I [...] see about 5 seconds of [my] wallpapers per month

        I use 11 desktops, so windows covering my wallpapers is not something that happens the majority of the time. If you use one desktop, naturally, your windows are going to cover the desktop nearly all the time.

  20. isvarahparamahkrsnah
    Link
    I have a collection of wallpapers for both devices. An app on each device shuffles through the wallpapers every minute, keepin' my homescreen fresh

    I have a collection of wallpapers for both devices.
    An app on each device shuffles through the wallpapers every minute, keepin' my homescreen fresh

    1 vote
  21. herson
    Link
    I save the ones that I like from Brave Browser and Microsoft Edge

    I save the ones that I like from Brave Browser and Microsoft Edge

  22. Macha
    Link
    Art from media I like. Stuff like the windmill from Feel Good Inc, some of the more abstract shots from Madoka. Backgrounds, fictional logos, enviornment shots, high quality fanart tend to be what...
    1. Art from media I like. Stuff like the windmill from Feel Good Inc, some of the more abstract shots from Madoka. Backgrounds, fictional logos, enviornment shots, high quality fanart tend to be what I use here. Not so much promo art or "cast shots", partly because they feel tacky, and partly because I watch a lot of anime and some people have weird ideas about a wallpaper full of anime girls in a workplace, which describes most anime promo pictures.
    2. I have a lot of the older wallpaper's smashing magazine puts out. They used to (maybe still do) a wallpaper calendar series and a lot of these had variants without the calendar that age better.
  23. crdpa
    Link
    I look for one that goes well with the colorscheme i'm using at the moment. This is what i have right now.

    I look for one that goes well with the colorscheme i'm using at the moment. This is what i have right now.