No particular theme other than a personal one that works for me. I only use a single desktop as I only use one monitor, however my core setup is a combination of jwm window manager and rox-filer ... that serves as a file manager, desktop pinboards and a panel. Being RISC based its heavily into drag/drop for example drag a program to the panel to add it to the panel, middle mouse drag/drop to move it in the panel, drag files to that panel icon and it opens that file using the program associated to the icon.
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Typically I have five pinboards, each with different wallpapers and sets of icons/links. A scratchpad type pinboard, office, computer (links to configuration files, icons, documents etc.), music/video and home (personal docs etc.). Switching pinboards is via 5 icons over to the right side of the panel.
I have a jwm panel that auto hides at the bottom, basically for a dock (sys tray/tasklist) and that shows what programs are open/running.
In effect the multiple pinboards is the menu, so much so I don't have/use any menus. The left most icon in the top panel opens pcmanfm with menu://applications ... which enables access to a menu-like program selection if/when the need arises.
I tend to also keep browser bookmarks on the pinboards a well, where the right most icon in the top panel is a 'showdesktop' so I can just click on a pinboard icon to open a browser link (maybe flipping between desktops to locate the desired browser link).
For a server I use OpenBSD and on my desktop I just sshfs ... link to that so all the server files are accessible via rox-filer/pcmanfm.
System wise I stick with pure Debian - their main repos only, with just the odd exception (non-free firmware/drivers). Still running Debian Jessie (old stable) and likely will continue to do so until either the PC dies or Stretch enters old-stable. By the time Debian has been through design/test/release and enters old-stable, it is very stable (and there's lots of reference material to call upon if necessary).