Anyone using WordPress as a platform for their website knows that the theme can make or break the overall look of a site. Nearly any theme is customizable, so if you’re on a budget, start with one of the free themes for WordPress, and customize it to meet your needs.
WordPress is the most popular CMS platform, with a 60 percent market share. There are about 500 more new sites built using WP every day. Because of its popularity, free themes for it are abundant. Looking at the hundreds of free themes and figuring out which ones work best for your type of website isn’t easy. We’ve done a lot of that work for you by narrowing your choices down to 20 amazing free WordPress themes.
Jump to: Virtue | Construction Landing Page | Jinsy Magazine | Sydney | Hestia | ColorMag | eStore | Oblique | Shopera | Ashe | Total | Lightning | Llorix One Lite | Travel Ultimate | Brad | Airi | Illdy | xMag | Fukasawa | Striker
Virtue is a free theme available through WordPress.org. The theme features integrated Schema microdata and clean design with a hero image at the top and featured thumbnails lined up underneath. You can easily customize this theme so that your site looks unique with the featured images in the slider as well as custom fonts and colors. You don’t have to know coding to create a custom look with this theme.
2. Construction Landing Page
Construction Landing Page is a free theme that features a beautifully laid out WordPress landing page with a full-width background image of construction workers. This theme would work well for anyone who does home renovations or builds homes. There’s a lead generation form where consumers can request a free quote from your company. A premium version is available, but you can also change the look of the theme by adding a custom background photo of your crew at work.
3. Jinsy Magazine
Jinsy Magazine is the perfect theme for a blog or magazine-based website. If you have news to share about your industry, you’ll love that this layout creates block-style posts, rotating the most current topic to the forefront. One way to customize the look a bit is to replace the text website name with a logo, which can give the page a more customized look.
In addition, the unique images you feature with your posts can give your site a look that’s different from other people using this theme, because the design features images from each post. Focus on creating unique images that are highly relevant to your topic.
Sydney is an excellent theme for freelancers and small businesses to use to create a unique presence. The theme allows you to customize the font, colors, layout and logo. You can also add a full-screen slider, header and sticky navigation. Create a unique look by adding your hero image to the landing page and making the call to action button a color that meshes with your business logo.
When you’re looking for free themes for WordPress, remember that Hestia is one worth considering. It has a clean look that takes a background image and runs it the length and width of the page. In the middle are three icon sections, where you can define your business. Navigation is in a typical location in the upper header of the page. The design is responsive and compatible with Gutenberg and Elementor. You can also use this theme with WooCommerce.
The theme is free, although you can sign up for premium features as well if you need it to do a bit more. To create a customized look for this theme, swap out the background image for a custom image, and change the icons to ones that make sense for your business.
ColorMag is one of the more popular free themes out there, with over 100,000 active installations of the theme. The theme is popular because it has a clean look for online magazines but is very easy to use. It comes with custom widgets, so you can easily create a look unlike the other sites using this theme. Further customize by adding a logo to the upper left and changing the CSS colors in the theme.
eStore is the perfect free theme for someone wishing to start an e-commerce store online. The template is easy to use, so you can add images and descriptions of your inventory and integrate with WooCommece. It also integrates with WooCommerce Wishlist, so site visitors can start a list of the items they want, and you can send them reminders.
The header on this theme is fairly plain, so jazz up the site by adding some color and a custom logo to the top of the page.
Oblique has a modern, geometric design that works well for designers and businesses that need to show they’re on the cutting edge. The clean diagonal lines of the featured articles images create a unique look. The majority of this design is made up of the images uploaded, so choose unique images rather than stock ones. You can also adjust what you place in the header.
Shopera is another e-commerce theme, but it allows you to feature a large image at the top and then the other items you offer below. Picture a hero image showing the products on sale or in use for the season. Like with some of the other image-heavy designs, the images you choose should be unique to your brand to create a more custom look with this theme. Use a logo in place of the text to customize the header.
Ashe is a great free theme to use for a blog for fashion or lifestyle. The top header features a full-width background image of Central Park in the winter. The navigation is directly under the header, and the content below that. You can customize the layout of the content and create a distinct look by adding your background image. If you’re in love with the images the theme comes with, create unique typography to showcase the name of your blog.
If you’re looking for a site with Parallax scrolling capability, you’ll be happy to know that Total offers exactly that feature. As the user scrolls up the page, the top navigation bar disappears more slowly than the images underneath. Customize this theme by integrating it with WooCommerce and plugging in your unique photos. You can also swap out elements such as the CTA button color and the logo at the top of the page.
Lightning works well for almost any type of business where you need to share regular information with your clients. The theme allows users to customize post types, so if you release a lot of non-traditional posts, try this free theme. The theme is Bootstrap-based and easily customized. Create a unique look by changing the images and colors on the page. Add plugins, such as a floating social media bar, to give it an even more unique feel.
13. Llorix One Lite
Llorix One Lite is a single page, business-card-type WordPress theme, making it the perfect choice for consultants and businesses wishing to get their contact information in the hands of consumers. The front page is a fullscreen hero image. You can customize the look with a responsive blog, gallery, sliders and the images you use. The demo shows oranges and golds, but you can use any colors you’d like in your CSS coding.
14. Travel Ultimate
Travel Ultimate is perfect for travel agencies, featuring the ability to set up tour packages and add multiple destinations. You can also integrate a blog to help potential clients learn more about a location. Customize the look by choosing the layout that works best for your business. Colors are customizable, and swapping out images for ones not used elsewhere will give your travel agency a fresh look.
Brad is a responsive theme that’s set up on a simple grid system. Because of the simplicity of the theme, it looks good on nearly any screen size. The theme is meant to be used as a portfolio showcasing your best work. One way you can make this theme look unique is by added a semi-transparent background image instead of the white background, but watch out for page load speed when you add bigger images.
Airi is a modern and airy-looking theme that works well for almost any type of business. You can use it as an introduction to your brand and who you are, but the theme also integrates with WooCommerce. It offers the ability to customize elements such as the background, colors, logo, menu and featured images.
It’s hard to believe that Illdy is a free theme, as it has a premium feel to it. An elegant photo fills the background of the screen in muted colors that allow for the typography and call to action buttons to stand out in relief. Keep in mind that though you’ll want to customize your background image for a unique look, the chosen picture needs to have similar light tones and be faded slightly for a more symmetric look.
xMag is a free magazine theme for WordPress with a basic design that works well for blogs and online news sites. The theme features social media icons and thumbnails for each post. A right sidebar offers space for about us info and other add-ons. Customize the look of the theme with the image in the header. The default image is of a woman with a camera, but you can change it to any wide image you’d like.
Fukasawa is well suited for artisans, such as furniture makers, jewelers and artists. The designer of this theme is the same person who created other popular WordPress themes such as Hemingway and Baskerville. Fukasawa is set up on a grid and has a minimalist look. The original theme is straightforward with white, gray and black. Give it a unique look by adding pops of color.
Striker is responsive to all device types and offers a very basic layout that works for most websites. A header features a logo and social media links. Just under that is navigation. A background image fills the entire page, but then there’s another frame within the page that appears more like a traditional WP blog. Customize the look of this theme with the images you use.
Features Needed in a WP Theme
Free themes for WordPress are easy to find, but before you choose one, understand the features you’ll need as your business grows. If you sell products, you’ll likely need something that integrates with e-commerce platforms. If you’re a designer, you’ll need a gallery to showcase projects.
Keep in mind that most free themes also offer premium options, which you’ll need to pay to utilize. Premium features add more flexibility to the theme and its overall appearance. You can still create a custom look without these premium features, but it’s a bit more of a challenge.
Hopefully, these 20 themes are enough to get you started. Once you get a feel for how a theme meets your needs, it’ll be easier to know what you do and don’t want.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.