Skip to main content

The best Skyrim mods

Visual overhauls and weather

Skyrim, frankly, wasn't really that fantastic looking to begin with, so there have naturally been a lot—a lot—of visual improvement mods over the years. Here's how to squeeze improved visuals out of the aging RPG.

Total Character Makeover ⭐ 

the best skyrim mods: total character makeover

Download link

A compilation of existing changes to NPC appearances, the Total Character Makeover makes everyone in Skyrim look better without making them better-looking, if you catch our drift. No nudity, no anime hair, no glamazon makeup, just a suite of new textures and tweaks to everything from beards to vampire fangs. 

Enhanced Lights and FX ⭐ 

the best skyrim mods: enhanced lights and FX

Download link

You may have noticed some things in Skyrim that should be sources of light don't actually cast any, while in other places things are brightly lit for no real reason. Enhanced Lights and FX fixes that, making light shine where it should. There are options for just how dark you want interiors to be, and enabling those will mean torches and spells like candlelight are vital. It also makes some nice tweaks to the appearance of smoke.

2K Textures

the best skyrim mods: 2k textures

Download link 

Does what it says: replaces Skyrim's textures: sky, water, architecture, clothing, clutter, reflections, and so on, of the cities, towns, dungeons, and landscapes. There's a full version if your PC can handle it, but there's also a lite version that should make things look nicer without killing your performance.

Climates of Tamriel

the best skyrim mods: climates of tamriel

Download link 

This comprehensive mod adds hundreds of new weather systems, a huge library of new cloud systems, a new sun, improved lighting for both fans of a fantasy look and realistic visuals, and even audio improvements. With all of these systems combining, each day in Skyrim will feel different from the last.

Book of Silence

the best skyrim mods: book of silence

Download link

A pretty hefty collection of high-quality replacements for Skyrim textures, covering everything from equipment, landscapes, dungeons, and architecture. While they look much nicer, the textures are the same resolution as Bethesda's high-res DLC pack so it shouldn't slow you down.

Make sure you read the notes on the mod's page. There are hotfixes required to get everything working.

Static Mesh Improvement

the best skyrim mods: static mesh improvement

Download link 

This mod edits a number of 3D models in the game, and with over 700 meshes placed in over 15,000 locations in the world, it's a welcome difference. You'll notice better looking architectural elements, furniture, objects in the landscape, and all sorts of other models that didn't get much attention from Bethesda.

FXAA Injector

the best skyrim mods: fxaa injector

Download link 

Enhances your graphics with FXAA and other post effects, such as sharpen and bloom, creating crisper visuals and more vibrant colors. Conveniently, you can adjust these settings while you play by alt-tabbing out and moving the sliders on the mod's desktop utility.

Skyrim Flora Overhaul

the best skyrim mods: skyrim flora overhaul

Download link 

This mod comes in three different versions, depending on how drastically you want to change your game. All versions promise more luxurious trees and bark, taller grass, and prettier plant life. The heavier versions completely replace the trees altogether and give you lusher greens for a summery feel.

Realistic Water Two

the best skyrim mods: realistic water two

Download link 

Realistic Water Two, drawing and expanding on the work of some earlier water mods, adds better ripples, larger splashes, re-textured foam and faster water flow in streams, bobbing chunks of ice, and even murky, stagnant-looking water in dungeons. It's the next best thing to getting wet.

True Vision ENB

the best skyrim mods: true vision ENB

Download link 

If you're looking to get closer to reality with crisp visuals, this ENB configuration is one to try. With hyper-realistic color corrections, realistic specular highlights and reflections, improved spell effects, and tons of other adjustments, it makes Skyrim look like a real-world place.

RealVision ENB

the best skyrim mods: realvision ENB

Download link 

This collection of visual tweaks improves the lighting vastly without losing the eye-candy fantasy feel of Skyrim. It is, however, very hard on your GPU and may not play nicely with other visual or weather mods.

Book Covers

the best skyrim players: book covers

Download link 

It may not seem like that big of a deal, but these little high-res book covers do make for an extremely pleasant upgrade over the standard, muddily-textured ones. When you're relaxing at home or perusing (or robbing) a bookstore or library, make sure you've installed this lovely cover mod.

Hearthfire Dolls Are Ugly 

the best skyrim mods: hearthfire dolls are ugly

Download link

Because they are! What self-respecting parent wants to give their kid a dirty, beat-up naked doll? Instead, give them an actual cute dolly, or an adorable teddy bear in a variety of different colours.

Table of contents