22 Beautiful Free WordPress Themes From 2013

2013 was an excellent year for finding beautiful themes in the official WordPress Themes Directory. The Theme Review Team has been breaking all kinds of records lately, averaging more than 80 new themes approved per month, according to Chip Bennett. With so many themes available, it can be difficult to sort through them all to find the best ones.

We’ve hand-selected a few favorites from those that gained admission to the directory this year. These themes represent some of the most outstanding, well-designed themes created in 2013. Each theme has passed the Theme Review Team’s rigorous guidelines for admission to the WordPress.org directory, so you know it’s safe to install and free from malicious code. Grab a cup of coffee and start bookmarking your favorites.

Snaps

Snaps WordPress theme

Snaps is a popular portfolio theme created by the folks at Graph Paper Press. The homepage and archives pages have a grid layout that is ideal for showcasing portrait images and galleries.

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Ryu

ryu WordPress Theme

Ryu is a minimalist blogging theme from Automattic that focuses on large, readable typography. The top panel has a hidden widget area and the background of image posts automatically changes to match the colors of the image.

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Hueman

Hueman WordPress Theme

Hueman is a magazine style theme that has quickly become a favorite on WordPress.org with more than 50,000 downloads already. On smaller devices the sidebars toggle for a great mobile viewing experience. This theme supports 10 post formats, has unlimited widget areas, social links and much more.

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WP Jurist

WP Jurist WordPress Theme

WP Jurist is a bold, responsive theme designed for law firms. The theme is bundled with a “People” plugin for displaying staff profiles.

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Untitled

untitled

The Untitled theme was created by the Theme Team at Automattic and features a full-bleed homepage slider. It was designed to showcase photos and videos. Although Untitled looks best without widgets, the theme does support a right sidebar.

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Nictitate-free

Nictitate-free

Nictitate is a more corporate style WordPress theme. It includes a layout manager for creating custom layout options on each page.

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Flounder

Flounder WordPress theme

Flounder is a flat style blogging theme with support for post formats, including color and icons for each. It’s based on the Underscores theme, which is used by the Theme Team at WordPress.com.

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Celebrate

celebrate

Celebrate is built on top of the Hybrid Core framework. It features a responsive masonry layout, support for post formats and a custom header and background.

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Bearded

bearded

Bearded is a unique responsive theme that is well-suited to being used as a portfolio or an agency website. It supports the Custom Content Portfolio plugin to help you showcase your work.

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Serene

serene

Serene is a beautiful, minimalist blogging theme created by the folks at Elegant Themes. The theme supports post formats and was designed to be easy on the eyes.

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Gridster-Lite

gridster

Created by the folks at Themefurnace, Gridster-lite is a grid-based portfolio theme. The theme sports a left sidebar and is responsive so it looks great on all screen sizes.

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Trvl

trvl

Trvl is a minimalist tumblelog theme with support for eight post formats. This theme was created by Automattic. It includes a custom header, menu and widgets above the footer.

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Inkness

inkness

Inkness is a responsive theme created by InkHive. The theme features a three column homepage, multiple page layouts, configurable sidebar locations, footer widgets and more.

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Houston

houston

Houston is a child theme for the P2 blogging / collaboration theme. The layout responds nicely to devices and adds a new widget area under the posting box.

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Writr

writr

Writr is a beautiful blogging theme from Automattic. This tumblelog theme includes six different color schemes and support for all post formats.

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Sublime Press

sublime

Sublime is an ultra-minimalist responsive blogging theme designed for writers. This theme has a content-oriented, centered layout and it does not include any widget areas.

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Mixfolio

mixfolio

Mixfolio is a grid-style portfolio theme developed by Graph Paper Press. The theme is responsive, supports post formats and includes an options panel for customizing details.

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Stargazer

stargazer

Stargazer is a parent theme built on the Hybrid Core theme framework created by Justin Tadlock. It’s fully responsive, includes a custom background, custom header and more features for customizing the design.

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Asteria Lite

asteria

Asteria Lite is a responsive theme with an eye catching slider and a narrow/wide optional layout. It includes support for custom fonts, a maintenance mode feature, three page templates, social icons and more.

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Superhero

superhero

Superhero is another theme from Automattic. It features a sticky/fixed top menu, full-bleed featured Content area and images and subtle CSS3 transitions.

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Adamos

adamos

Adamos is a responsive theme that features a full-width slider. It includes an easy way to add your logo, custom header, featured areas and more.

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Twenty Fourteen

twentyfourteen

Twenty Fourteen is the latest default theme for WordPress. This theme features a magazine style layout with featured content areas arranged in a grid or a slider. Customize the theme with three different widget areas, a full-width page template and a nicely designed contributor page.

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30 Comments


  1. All quality themes Sarah, but you know what?

    I’ve never used a free theme since I read one of your articles about the perils of free themes.

    I’m sure that those warnings don’t apply to these themes.

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    1. Someone else actually wrote that article and it was about not googling for free themes. All the themes listed above are from the WordPress.org official Themes Directory, so they have been reviewed and should be safe.

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  2. I have worked on Houston, Flounder, Stargazer, Expound and Twenty Fourteen. I am going to try some other themes from this list as well. These are all great themes. I particularly loved Stargazer because I am a huge fan of Justin Tadlock’s works. I also loved Expound for the way it handles featured posts, it was perfect for what I was working on. I used Expound with the Video Thumbnails plugin to create a video site. It was so much fun.

    I love free themes from WP.org, they are well tested and usually very easy to modify and build upon.

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    1. Hi Noumaan,
      + 1, I am a big fan of Justin Tadlock’s work too. I am about to start a job for a video producer and Expound looks like a good option as a parent theme. May I have a look at your Expound work with the video Video Thumbnails plugin?

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  3. Wow nice share, and i like Gridster-Lite theme :)
    Thank’s Sarah

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  4. Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for the great collection.
    I think “Customizr” Really deserves to be listed, Only in about 6 month it gained 4.8 out of 5 star rating and 277K downlaod, The documentation is one of a kind and not so many themes in the gallery offer all the features and support that this theme offers. With no doubt it is a very serious rival for the premium themes.

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  5. Snaps and Serene catches my attention. I’ll be taking a closer look at them, perhaps might a be a good theme to recommend to my future clients.

    Thanks for this list

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  6. Thanks for the recommendations, Sarah. Always enjoy reading your posts on WP Tavern as yours are always helpful towards those who love to tinker with WP.

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  7. Always enjoy reading your posts on WP Tavern as yours are always helpful towards those who love to tinker with WP.

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  8. I think bearded is for me but it’s hard to switch from one theme to another theme. My existing theme is perfect for me. It supports galleries very well. I like colourful and I tried some colourful themes but the they failed to fulfil all requirements.

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  9. Hueman and Bearded are my favorites, but I like the rest as well. These are all high quality themes and what I like the most about them, that the design aesthetics of free WP themes have improved during 2013

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  10. Great review of free themes. I have always stayed away from free themes because of the lack of support and barebone options on the back-end, but I will look into these themes along with a couple mentioned in the comments. Thanks!

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  11. I am using Hueman on my blog http://www.starta-blogg.se and I think it is one of the best themes I have used so far on WordPress. I can really recommend it!

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  12. I use catchbox free theme on my blog. Always interesting to see what other free themes are out there. Many thanks for the list.

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  13. Thanks for posting! These themes will come in handy now thinking about to create an other site

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  14. why, oh why didnt I see this post two months ago?… I’ve just payed 75 buck for another one who dosen’t even have a h1 tag….

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  15. Funny to me that so many themes are image based but most people are still using images they find, buy or steal. The images become the face of the content and yet they are actually almost irrelevant to the content.

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  16. I would love to see themes that will look good without a featured slider or large featured images. I keep searching on minimalist typography themes and yet nearly all feature sliders or big images, which just aren’t feasible when working on a site featuring scholarly essays with no easy way to locate a good image, let alone one that looks good full-width.

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  17. I think bearded is for me but it’s hard to switch from one theme to another theme. My existing theme is perfect for me. It supports galleries very well. I like colourful and I tried some colourful themes but the they failed to fulfil all requirements.

    Report

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