To begin, open the administrative dashboard using the 'gear' icon on your forum, and click the 'Appearance' menu.

NodeBB uses two main design concepts: the 'Theme', which defines the overall layout of forum topics and messages, and the 'Skin', which defines fonts and colors. Themes and Skins may be applied in different combinations to give your forum a unique look.


This forum is currently using the theme known as Persona. Here's a quick look at what the homepage, topic pages and messages look like using this particular theme.

By applying a different theme such as Vanilla, these different layout elements can be changed immediately. Note that selecting a different theme will require a restart of your forum, which can be done by going to the Dashboard menu, and Selecting Restart on the right.

After restarting, the forum homepage, topic view and messages are now all changed to match the Vanilla theme.


In addition to changing the layout with a different Theme, different colors and fonts can also be changed by applying a different Skin. NodeBB has a number of built in Skins, and unlike changing Themes, switching Skins does not require a forum restart: simply select the Skin you like, and view your forum to see how it looks. If you don't see the change right away, try refreshing your browser.

Custom CSS and HTML

Individual elements in NodeBB can be further styled by using the 'Custom CSS and HTML' menu. This requires some coding expertise, but it does provide a way to customize your forum even further. 

YouTube Changing the appearance of your NodeBB forum