So I have some very basic requirements, for my DE, and not sure this helps your question.
- Some tiling features
- purple glass terminals
- avoiding the mouse
- my gui terminal using fish without changing my default login shell
So for years I have kept an openbox config that hits all these things. Allows me to maximize and dock a window to either side. Switch virtual desktops, move things across desktops. etc. I used openbox combined with nitrogen, compton, xscreensaver. I added fluxbox to get the fbrun command for a launcher and xfce4-app-finder for when I don’t know the exact name and all configured as keyboard shortcuts.
When I switched to nixos I found the kde from default to be sensible, performant, and good looking. So I basically just tweaked the shortcut keys to what I preferred, added a desktop I like and off I went. Maybe a theme change here but mostly just using the kde tools.
It basically came down to less work for me, use what is in the default install and tweak and not have to add a whole bunch of things to my config for “my base install”. In that I have found kde to have very consistent look and feel and sddm + kde to not be a really big impediment or lag from a cold boot.
So I guess my suggestion is try the default kde. It is very tweakable and good looking. Yes function is my first metric and for that keyboard shortcuts + tiling + konsole themed to my liking is what I need. So perhaps give that a try and see how it feels.