I wish to beautify my SharePoint 2013 home page. What I want is that users should be able to add their own webparts and apply a design template to display their items so that the links may be are displayed in a different format from the default. Can I create a display template and apply it to a list view web part. I can see there is an option to link an xsl file too. Not sure what that is for?
You can use JSLink to change the UI of the OOTB List view web part. JSLink can be used to change the UI at Webpart level and also at List view level.
If you choose to associate the JSLink at webpart level, then the custom UI will be applied to only that instance of List view webpart.
If you associate the JSlink at List view level, then custom UI will be applied to all List view webparts using that view.
See this blog