The appearance of your Gmail inbox is now fully customizable, Google announced in a blog post today. Gmail Themes have been around for a while, but these were limited as you only get to choose a color scheme or a theme from the ones that were available. Not any more. Starting today, you will be able to upload your own images and use it as a background to your Gmail inbox.
To create your own theme, click on Settings link at the top of the page and go to the Themes tab. You should see an option “Create your own theme”. It appears that some users are not able to find this option and instead “Choose your own colors” appear. They are the same.
Click on it to bring up the theme creator. Here you can select colors of the text and the links, color of your inbox and the sidebar. At the bottom of the color palette chooser you will find an option to add your own image. You can either choose an image already in your Picasa album or upload a new one from your computer. The main body and the footer are customizable individually allowing you to choose two different images for the two sections.
My only gripe with the color chooser is that it doesn’t automatically use the colors from the current theme when the theme creator opens, requiring me to choose colors for all the various elements from scratch. It could have been more usable if the theme creator could automatically populate the color palette with the colors the current theme is using, so that I could change only the sections that I want instead of having to redo the entire theme.