I had the same question and have posted it to superuser:http://superuser.com/questions/580038/d ... e-cinnamon
However, I think I have worked it out:
* I installed Nautilus (I don't know if this is a pre-requisite - try without first)
* Open File Manager
* Edit -> Preferences -> Views
* The 'Icon View Defaults' setting will then change the settings on the desktop as well as for the file manager.