In Previous versions of Ubuntu, I used to go under the edit menu to set the background color of a Nautilus window. I have no idea how to do this in Ubuntu.
My problem with this new ubuntu 11.10 was the fact that i was not able to change the background color of the windows, that white color just drove me crazy; as you noticed 'appearance preferences' from the old ubuntu does not exit any more here; there is a way though (or maybe more):
Here's what you have to do to change colors in ubuntu 11.10:
Open the terminal, paste
sudo apt-get install dconf-tools
gtk-color-scheme, don't click on it, click on the empty space on the right side to get a small box where you will paste the following:
Press enter, nothing else! The colors will change right away (this is just an example with my favourite colors).
If you wanna find your own colors, install
gnome color chooser and play with the colors (the color palette will look the same as it did in 'appearance preferences in the old ubuntu) to find out the right codes (six digit hexadecimal numbers) for the ones that you like.
Once you find yours, paste the six digit code number into the right place in
gtk-color-scheme and then enter again it is done.
For 11.04 and older
The source of this answer is this article.
Change Nautilus's Background
Many people don't know that you can change Nautilus's background to add a beautiful touch to browsing files. To change the background of a window, pane, or panel, perform the following steps:
1.Choose Edit ▸ Backgrounds and Emblems in any file manager window. The Backgrounds and Emblems dialog is displayed.
2.Click the Patterns button or the Colors button to see a list of background patterns or background colors you can use. 3. To change the background, drag a pattern or color to the desired window, pane, or panel. To reset the background, drag the Reset entry to the desired window, pane, or panel.
You can add a new pattern to the list by clicking the Add a New Pattern button when the patterns are selected. Locate an image file in the file chooser dialog and click Open. The image file will appear in the list of patterns you can use. I added an image as a new pattern and this is the result:
To edit sidebars, you'll need some css programming features... "Gedit" your
~/.themes/nautilus.css and will find many