If you want to install a new theme or template for your store in Magento, two solutions are available to you:

  • 1) You find a theme available on Magento-connect and use it to install
  • 2) You copy manually, the files of the Magento theme that you want to install, in the corresponding directories. It is this last solution that we will study.

How Magento Manages Themes (or Templates)

The management of themes in Magento is special; in fact when you start your store, Magento loads the default theme and then loads the theme you have defined on top of it. Unless you have replaced the default theme with the theme of your store.

This way of working allows you to be able to modify very simply your theme. You just have to create it or create only the part of the theme you want to modify, define it in the Magento administration and it will be loaded over the default configuration when you start your store to replace the part of the default theme. Three folders are used by Magento for the management of these themes:

  • The template folder contains all the HTML elements of your theme (app / design / frontend / default / the_name_of_your_theme / template),
  • The layout folder contains the XML files for configuring and positioning the elements of your theme (app / design / frontend / default / the_name_of_your_theme / layout),
  • Finally, the skin folder contains several sub-folders with the images, style sheets and JavaScript files of your store (skin / frontend / default / the_name_of_your_theme)

In any case you can install the theme called: “Linen”, which is free. This can be availed from magento sitemap generator. But the principle is the same with any other theme.
Once the Magento theme zip file has downloaded, unzip it. Open the folder: “LinenTheme_2.0.Next you will find our two folders: “app” and “skin”. You just need to copy these two folders to the root of your Magento site. If you go back to our 2 theme storage folders, you will notice that a new folder has been created: app / design / frontend / default / linen and skin / frontend / default / linen. You just have to define the new theme in the administration of Magento.

How to Define Our New Theme in the Administration of Magento?

Go to the administration of your Magento site in the “System> Configuration> Design” menu.
You must first indicate which store you want to work on, just choose it in the top left area: Scope of the current configuration. If you leave the default configuration, all your sites (if you have several) will be affected by your new theme. Once the site has been chosen, you must indicate your new theme, in the right part: You just have to indicate in the Default zone, the name of your new theme: Linen.

How to Refresh Your Magento Store Cache?

To update the cache of your Magento store you need to follow simple rules as below:

  1. Go to the menu “System> Cache management”
  2. In the first field: All cache, choose: Refresh.

Your store cache is updated and the new theme of your store can be displayed. There you go, your new Magento theme is now fully installed. You can use this relatively simple method with any other theme.