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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.