10 Free Ultra Minimalist WordPress Themes

If you love to blog but don’t want a theme with clunky sliders and overloaded widget areas cluttering up your site, then chances are you’re on the hunt for the perfect minimalist WordPress theme. Finding a theme that provides a beautiful reading experience with an unobtrusive, high quality design is no simple task. You’ll end up wading through hundreds of themes.

That’s why I’ve collected a few of the best minimalist WordPress themes from around the web. All of the themes featured here make liberal use of white space and display very little, if any, post meta.

Remember that any of these themes can be even further stripped down to better reflect your spartan sensibilities. Create a child theme to preserve your ability to get updates, and then proceed to cut out post meta or anything that you feel is distracting to the reader.

Tonal

tonal

Tonal is a content-focused theme from Automattic that sports a minimal design with large featured images. The theme supports post formats and can display images and videos at full width. The menu and widgets are hidden from sight in a pull-down panel.

One particularly unique aspect of Tonal is its background adaptation feature. Select any solid background color and the theme will automatically modify your typography and other elements to preserve readability with the new background color.

Demo | Download

Casper

casper

Casper is a free Ghost-style theme based on Underscores. It is essentially a port of Ghost’s default theme with WordPress-specific features added into the customizer for uploading your own logo, customizing the background and header images, text and social links.

Demo | Download

Lingonberry

lingonberry

Lingonberry is a beautifully-designed minimalist theme by Anders Noren. Check out our recent interview with him on achieving simplicity in WordPress theme design. The Lingonberry theme offers support for post formats. The hidden top menu pulls down navigation and a search bar.

Demo | Download

TinyPress

tinypress

TinyPress is a mobile-friendly WordPress theme with bold headlines and a focus on readability. It includes matching social sharing buttons, styles for galleries and quotes, and a hidden menu that pops open a full page widget area when clicked.

Demo | Download

Gravit

gravit

Gravit is a bright, clean WordPress theme with support for post formats and large featured images. The theme has many options built into the customizer, including color controls for the post format icons, site title, text and background. Gravit also includes a unique “About Me” page design and template.

Demo | Download

Readly

readly

Readly is a free theme from WP Shower that utilizes large fonts and supports post formats. It was designed for readability on all devices. The theme has several options built into the customizer, including the ability to change the theme color and add social links. You can also easily select between three pagination options: regular, load more, and infinite scroll.

Demo | Download

Aquarius

aquarius

Aquarius is a retina-ready responsive theme that supports all standard post formats. Sidebar widgets are hidden from view with a slideout panel. Navigation is fixed and available at the top of the page as you scroll.

Demo | Download

Padhang

padhang

Padhang is a Javanesse word that means “bright.” This theme features a large header image and a single centered column for content. The custom header, background and colors can be changed via the theme customizer.

Demo | Download

wp-svbtle

wp-svbtle

WP-Svbtle is a theme inspired by the svbtle.com design. The theme options let you upload a custom image for the header logo or select from one of the included icons. The unique thing about WP-Svbtle is that the admin area and the theme are independent of each other. The theme includes a directory that provides a new writing dashboard with a zen style interface for composing new content.

Demo | Download

Hellish Simplicity

hellish

Hellish Simplicity is a theme created by Ryan Hellyer. It’s a clean, responsive theme that looks great on mobile devices. You can easily update the header text via the customizer.

Demo | Download

12 Comments


  1. Dang, I *really* like Ryan’s Hellish Simplicity theme. Very clean.

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    1. I’m with you on that one Andy.
      Love the ultra clear font combination and the introduction of that glorious red for some major headlines and links looks fantastic.

      Not easy to strip a theme down… and leave it looking good.

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  2. I really like the clean and minimal trend as well, i’ve never liked bloated themes either on the outside or in the admin. I think it helps put emphasis on the content as well if the theme is simple.

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  3. TinyPress seems like a really solid theme for sites that focus on content, text, and blogging. Thanks for the ideas!

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  4. elmastudio also offers some free minimalistic themes with high class designs

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  5. ‘Padhang is a Javanesse word that means “bright.” ‘ And then the theme authors proceed to use the most dreary, somber photo available in their header as a demo. Classic.

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  6. These are some of the most amazing simple themes. Thank you for your effort finding them.

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  7. Wow! I had no idea my theme was featured here until stumbling across it now whilst looking for another theme :)

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  8. Thanks, Im new to wordpress and was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the plug ins some themes come preinstalled with. I’m a huge fan of these stripped down themes.

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