Ok listen up – these probably aren’t the best WordPress themes you can find. I don’t know how they actually work or function. But I do know that WordPress is very customizable, which means any theme can look like anything… but it helps if a real designer made it look pretty first.
To curate this list, first we found about 300 themes we liked.
Then we scanned that gallery for the most attractive themes… but we avoided landing pages or services or business themes, because most people just want to make a blog and post content. So they need something that looks good out of the box with simple features.
Not exactly minimal maybe, though some of these are.
And not exactly “personal blogs” either, because some of these have nice-looking magazine themes. In short, this selection of 40 themes represents what we feel are the best themes for the vast majority of WordPress users.
Also, these aren’t just the most “popular” themes that everybody else is already talking about (although a handful are). And again… this is about aesthetics, not necessarily function: but that’s what WordPress plugins are for. Ok ready? Here are our favorite 40.
In no particular order…
#1 Maya – best elegant theme
Something about this theme always draws my eye. It’s probably the open space or the natural image; but the center typography is great and that peach button pops.
Everything just screams class – and even if you change the fonts and colors, and remove that nice circular logo on top, you’ll still have a strong theme that stands out and grabs attention with whatever big photo you feature on the homepage.
#2 BlogJR Dark – best dark theme
I’m a sucker for dark, sexy wordpress themes, and they’re rarely featured on lists like this. So if you’re goth at heart and your pet raven approves, why the F not go with something like this? I’ll make a bigger list of dark WordPress themes but this one is set up well and is one of our faves.
#3 Gridframe – best portfolio theme
I mean… anybody WordPress theme is a “portfolio” theme with the right plugin. But this feels like something an artist or craftsperson could use to feature some of their best work. It’s got a simple, light template but the bold fonts look professional and the short intro on the homepage is stellar.
#4 Foodica – best recipe theme
Need something for recipes, cooking or health-related content? We like Foodica – even though I don’t really approve of the cute handwritten font, the rest of the design is pretty great. There’s a header with a call to action and I love the 2-column blog with the last column showing a list of recent posts.
This could work for a LOT of things even if you can’t cook hotdogs.
There’s a balance between full minimal themes and light themes with just enough style… this one handles that gap nicely. The white space is excessive but it serves to highlight the smart font and color choices. I believe you could put a full pattern or color background but I really wouldn’t.
I have a handful of feminine, girly themes to share but this is one of the best. Even though I’m not sold on that handdrawn logo or the illustrative elements in the header. Even though the pastelgreen highlights probably won’t work. Despite all that, I like the simple stag-sans font and the header-slider reel.
I placed these together because Elonissa is almost just a more masculine version of Floral. Keep in mind that a brush-script logo like this could be added to any theme, so if that’s the element you love, you don’t need to marry this theme to get it. But the white box outline on the thumbnails and layover text is pretty great too. I’m not a huge fan of that dark menu way up there, but the theme might have options for that.
Do I just love the yellow car? Maybe… it reminds me of the yellow VW Rabbit I used to have before it got crushed by a tree in a big storm. But this theme is simple and cute. The yellow color is definitely eye-grabbing, but you could change the logo and color to get some unique results.
This theme is for that Scandinavian, IKEA look. It’s the bold, slanted serif and empty white space. But for a portfolio, gallery or even an online shop, this makes a clean and simple theme that’s image-focused without becoming distracting.
I don’t even know how to categorize this one. But it makes me feel good. Calm, happy. It’s not exactly minimal, but it is soothing. Maybe it’s the plant pictures; or the rounded thumbnails in the sidebar, or the burnt-ember highlights… or the no-nonsense serif font. Whatever it is, we like it.
Remember how I said there weren’t enough dark WP themes? Well here’s another. This one is almost obnoxiously minimal. It says, “I don’t need to be pretty for you. Focus on what I’m saying, not how I look.” Great for writers trying to pretend not to be as pretentious as they really are.
#12 Doyal Lite
Honestly I’m not sure how this one made it on the list. It’s not exactly beautiful. It’s almost defiantly unattractive. The gray bolded headers in all caps are shouting and whispering at the same time. It makes me feel weird. But it’s got my attention. I wonder how it would look with images, but I think the *point* is that these theme doesn’t need images. It’s there, it’s organized, but it’s not trying very hard to captivate you. It’s accessible. It’s useful. For some reason I feel like I can trust it.
That’s right I’m not even bothering to give it its own number. Not that it doesn’t deserve one; I just think it’s so similar to Doyal Lite that they can share the space. It’s pretty much the same concept, and you could probably soften the black elements to a softer gray… but I do really like the “pinned posts” with the little flag, and that featured image box.
#13 Core News
This is another entry that shouldn’t really be here. I almost feel like it’s Doyal Lite’s pretty cousin. It’s trying just a bit harder to be fun and flirty, but doing a poor job of it. It has pictures (woohoo) and a more standard blogging template, with the sidebar and single blogroll. Something about that bold curvy logo and the simple sans serif headings offends me. And there’s not enough space around the photographs. In spite of these things (or because of them?) I feel like it’s an OK blog that looks a bit pathetic and half-finished. That makes it more human, more personable, more approachable. I feel a bit sorry for it.
Changing gears – this theme feels Italian. Probably because of the title, but maybe because of the soft rounded sans logo or the big images. I don’t love the double/dual featured posts but maybe that can be changed. I think it’s a slider actually. The thing to remember with blogs is that the homepage may just be your normal blog page, which will look different, and is easily changeable if you use a fonts plugin. Still, I’m including this one because it makes me feel like an espresso, and I like espresso.
Ok the logo font is absolutely darling, and the rest is pretty cut too. There’s a pink and lime-green highlight thing going on, and it’s a LOT without being too busy (though it comes pretty close). A lot of the elements seemed crammed together and I feel like there should be more space. BUT for a feminine magazine-style personal blog, hey it’s pretty great right?
What if you kind of like Rebecca but you’re a dude? This one’s for you. Forgive the name (who names these things anyway?) this theme is both soft and pretty, while also being strong and masculine. It’s the black feature bar, the strong menu fonts, the elegant serif, and even the scripty-brushed logo at the top. Lots of elements, which signal good design, without somehow becoming overwhelming. You’ll need to replace the logo with the same font but that’s not hard; be wary of using some other handwriting script because it may clash with the rest of the theme fonts.
What if you don’t need a pretty aesthetic? What if you’re blogging about tech news for example? Well, here you go. Blogsteam’s blue highlights, bold serif headings and rounded edges gives it a corporate, business feel that skews “tech insider.” And if you like this one…
I’m grouping these together, because if blogstream caught your interest, you might like Slicko as an alternative. It has similar colors and fonts, but a nice full-width header and a 3-column magazine style homepage. It feels a bit more personal.
#19 News Jack
And if you want a soulless, corporate-tech magazine style theme that crams in a lot of content at once, News Jack is kind of like the rpevious two on steroids. It’s a little overwhelming for me personally, but it’s a nice use of the pace and allows you to feature a lot of content quickly. I might try to set some of those blue tags and bars to gray so it’s not quite so much, but that’s up to you.
I mean come on, it’s almost the same theme with a dark header. But the “weekly top” list with rounded featured images is pretty cool.
#20 Amanda Lite
This is a pretty personal blog, with attractive script elements and peach highlights. You’d have to use a script font to replace the logo and sidebar elements, but the social media icons and light pink headings match well with the soft gray in the header (which also has a built-in optin box so that’s a plus). This could work for food or anything else really – and with a few light tweaks you could give it a masculine edge (picture it in sage green with coal highlights).
#20b Rebecca Lite
I’m including this here because it looks like a softer, modified version of Amanda… though it’s actually a version of Rebecca which we looked at earlier. I shouldn’t really include it again because it’s so similar… but this one I actually like a little more for some reason. Also this might be a good place to comment that “lite” usually means they may ask you to upgrade to a premium version to unlock everything.
#21 Moina Blog
This is a weird one. It reminds me of Amanda Lite, which is why I grouped them… but it has throwbacks to Doyel Lite somehow. It’s very pleasing, aesthetically, but also unstandard and deviant. This Is Not How Blogs Behave.
This is a good theme to clear our palate. It’s not that dissimilar to Moira when viewed together, but it has a minimal tech-blogger feel. It’s almost accidentally aesthetic, with lots of space. It feels like the blog of a coder or a designer. It’s functional, but not super attractive. All that space under the menu or below the post boxes feels almost negligent, like somebody didn’t bother to tidy up.
Now imagine “Padma” got a little busy with work and stuffed everything into neat boxes before guests showed up for a mandatory social event. Megla is like Padma’s professional presentation at work, as opposed to the casual star-wars sweatpants she slips into when she’s alone.
#24 Words of Wonder
Honestly this theme is ugly. It’s too basic, too default. That said, I didn’t choose *any* of the “twenty-xxx” default WordPress themes that have been random and weird every year (though I am going to make a big series customizing them all). This is what a lite, simple default WordPress theme should look like. It’s also perfect for Dads. I don’t know why, it just is. This is a Dad website. I don’t love the bars. The logo/heading could be infinitely improved in hundreds of ways. And the rest of it is just absolutely fine.
#25 Simple Press
It’s probably the purple logo. Or the light blue background. But something about this theme says “young” and “fun” – like it’s meant for kids or parents. It’s playful, nonthreatening. Maybe you just like purple (keep in mind, you can make everything purple on any WordPress theme). But maybe you see what I see: there’s something about this theme that stands out from the rest of my favorites… it feels like… happiness.
Why this theme? Because it’s a snazzy, modern magazine styled WordPress theme and we don’t really have one just like it yet. Let me break it down: the bold/italics in the serif headers make this thing pop, and contrast nicely with the tall sans logo (which of course you’ll need to replace). Other than that, it’s a little crowded. BUT if you’re trying to make a cool popculture blog about Fashion or Celebs, this should work.
#27 Markup Blog
It’s probably the typography on this one I like the most, but if you want a fullpage slider with text overlay, with creative, “design” feeling, this will work for you – perfect for a home design or decoration site, or maybe for DIY and crafts.
#28 Personalistia Blogily
Seriously, who names these? At any rate, this mouthful of a wordpress theme is a little bit like Markup, but with a different layout. The logo of course can and should be customized; I don’t even love that script so much (I’ll make a list of some script fonts that are better for logos). You could easily change that peach bar to make it less feminine, and otherwise it’s a pretty clean layout style with nearly any kind of header.
#29 Patricia Lite
If you mashed Personalistia and Markup together, you might get something like Patricia lite. It’s a soft, feminine personal blog, unless you want to change the colors and make it something else. Nice for travel blogging maybe.
#30 Blossom Chic
Try not to get distracted by the beautiful script logo or stunning closeup portrait. That said… this is a pretty beautiful WordPress theme even if you decide to customize it. I like the black slider menu buttons and the pink category boxes.
Similar to the last theme but with a lighter feeling – with the pink logo and white text boxes. The slider also hSimilaras text overlay without a background so that may not be easy to read, depending on the pictures.
Similar again in style to the previous two, but with black category boxes. For the slider and text overlay, you’d have to create or find images that are half-smooth or empty. But imagine it with a totally different logo and you’ll see it’s pretty versatile.
#33 Strike Blog
This one has a full-width slider with text overlay – which I don’t really recommend but hey it’s there if you want it. I like the soft rounded edges of the featured posts too, and the logo of course can be customized to anything (picture it with a blog sans serif and blue highlights).
This one has a stout, elegant, old-timey feel, like it was made for antiques or historical oddities. It might make a good online store or shop. The black bold buttons draw the eye; the clean serif fonts and nice spacing give it a professional look.
#35 Fashion Diva
I feel like this one is cluttered and trying too hard. But still has a curated, posh look. Like a vintage clothing store maybe, held together by scotched tape. Or a scrapbook. It’s a busy, magazine style theme that could use a *slight* refresh with stronger branding (a different script font for the logo maybe). But otherwise, not bad.
Here’s a similar “feminine fashion” theme with more open space. It feels more corporate and less personal, but that’s because it’s less cluttered. The white serif title and bold sans serif categories make a very elegant pairing and the header slider is less clunky – though I wonder if seeing the partial images just out of view triggers more clicks.
#36 Signify Dark
Dark wordpress themes don’t have to be super minimal… this one has a fullwidth slider and pretty great typography to boot.
What happened to 36~40?!
I’ll tell you what happened. I counted correctly, then decided to put some of them as “b” versions or alternatives to my first choices, which left me with about 35+5. It it weird and messy? Yes… so am I.
Should I go back and fix the numbers? Probably, yes.
Will I? *shrug emoji*
The Fastest Free WordPress Theme
Ok so I didn’t include my favorite free WordPress theme in this list… why? Because I’m not actually a fan of the default design. Which is very polished, and very stylish and modern, but doesn’t have that “pretty personal blog” look I was going for.
BUT – it has a lot of great useful features and is a clean WordPress theme for beginners; it also has tons of customizable options. So I *think* I’m going to partner with WowLayers and create some one-click demo installs, so basically taking all the best parts of everything I like above, and creating a dozen or so instant variations on just one light, minimal Worpress theme (Fasto).
Once those are done I’ll feature them here, so check back in or sign up for updates.
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Or check out our 299 best WP theme roundup (2022)