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I'm using version 3.4.9 (smack)

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can use the xsetroot program for that, with option -solid followed by a color code, or some nicer program like hsetroot. See their man pages.

Also, you should put the command in some autostart script for awesome.

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xsetroot/hsetroot put me on the right path. after some puzzling figured out how to make it stick. changed the wallpaper line in my theme.lua to: theme.wallpaper_cmd = { "hsetroot -solid '#000000'" } –  Detnuomnu Jun 11 '11 at 21:33

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