Top 15 Free WordPress Themes Released in 2014

Looking back on the theme landscape of 2014, a clear design trend emerged that highlights WordPress’ roots as a blogging platform. Minimalist, content-centric themes took center stage in the official WordPress Themes Directory, outpacing their more visually-bloated commercial counterparts.

This past year saw a major renaissance in themes for the personal blogger, particularly designs that showcase large, featured images. Many theme designers opted to hide navigation menus and sidebars behind a slideout menu, which also works well for mobile displays.

WordPress’ newest default theme, Twenty Fifteen, is the culmination of this trend towards simplicity. The vast majority of our top picks from 2014 were designed for personal blogs. For years, technology experts have been eager to declare that the blog medium is dead, but the steady growth of economic activity surrounding themes continues to grow in tandem with WordPress’ marketshare.

The spirit of independent publishing is growing stronger, and free WordPress themes are a crucial entry point for writers, photographers, and other creatives who are new to self-publishing. All of the outstanding selections featured here are available in the official WordPress Themes Directory.

Editor

editor

Demo | Download

Fukasawa

fukasawa

Demo | Download

Saga

saga

Demo | Download

Eighties

eighties

Demo | Download

Rams

rams

Demo | Download

Sorbet

sorbet

Demo | Download

Tracks

tracks

Demo | Download

Hemingway

hemingway

Demo | Download

Clear Tranquil

clear-tranquil

Demo | Download

JustWrite

justwrite

Demo | Download

Intergalactic

intergalactic

Demo | Download

Wilson

wilson

Demo | Download

Nulis

Nulis-screenshot

Demo | Download

Edin

edin-grid-page

Demo | Download

Twenty Fifteen

twenty-fifteen

Demo | Download

21 Comments


    1. Hello Sarah, I Mostly Like the Theme “Eighties” “Just Write”. I don’t want to argue with, which is more useful paid or non paid themes. I my personal opinion is I if I choose one, that is the best. But Keith is not absolutely right paid theme is not always good one.

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  1. Morning Sarah
    All fabamundo themes and my congrats to the authors, but I never use free themes.
    No guarantee that a free theme will be updated for future WordPress releases.

    For a premium theme the author has an incentive to update and improve themes.
    Not so for a free theme.

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    1. I think that is a deeply flawed logic. The quality of paid themes is so low that most of them are not currently up to date with current WordPress releases, let alone future ones.

      And a lot of the paid themes have so much functionality baked in (usually badly), that they can actually break during upgrades. That is extremely unlikely with a simple blogging theme like the ones above.

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      1. In fairness, the same could be said for free themes. It’s not the theme that’s at fault, it’s the developer who wants to put too much into it – and this is equally true of free versus paid.

        I’ve always found the support network and communities of paid themes to far outstrip those of the free ones. For that reason, I’m happy to use premium.

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    2. I agree with Ryan on this one. Some times it is not just about updates, premium themes are insanely boated nowadays that it is really hard to make some tweaks and suit it according to our needs. Premium themes (a majority of them) are trying to be the all in one solution.

      Themes are just supposed to be a skeletal structure for the site. But when a theme incorporates things like post reading time, view counter, custom galleries, custom registration pages, visual page builders and all they are suffocating the end users and making future customizations cumbersome.

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  2. I disagree 100% Keith.

    1. There is no guarantee paid themes will be updated. More ‘likely’ but no ‘guarantee’.

    2. Many of the good free themes are from designers with good paid themes. It is in their best interest to keep their free themes up to date as the free themes are i) often the core/framework/base of a paid theme (whereby you pay for extra addons), and/or ii) the free themes are their best source of advertising for their paid themes = incentive to keep up to date.

    The ideology that free themes are a poorer cousin of paid themes is an out of date stereotype with out a lot of evidence in today’s market. The fact is, there a good themes free and paid and neither have a guarantee of being updated.

    Keith, checkout the free Generatorpress theme as an example.

    Users are better off to look for good, reliable and experienced theme developers… rather than the theme itself.

    Thanks, Pete

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    1. I completely agree with Pete, paid theme is not always best. There has a lot of the free theme site, but not threepenny theme. It’s completely Professional with all features..

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    2. “Users are better off to look for good, reliable and experienced theme developers… rather than the theme itself.”

      Makes sense @Pete – appreciate the feedback and I’ll take a look at Generatorpress

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    3. Completely agree with this comment/note, @Pete. The good WordPress theme is good theme, no matter if the theme is free or paid.

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  3. Thanks for sharing. Which one is mobile friendly? I would like to change my theme for the coming year of 2015.

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  4. Keep in mind that theme “development” is nothing like real development. You can create a theme with very little coding skills! I use _underscores as a base and add only the functionality that I need. This gives me the full control I never get with a paid theme. Plus once you are set up with proper CSS and a set of pages, you can customize and make childthemes (still a great feature of WP). And, uhm, you can even sell those ;)

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  5. Sarah,
    Thanks for that great list! I get around reasonably well, and even have my own list, and was only aware of a few of these.

    I am a fan of a couple paid frameworks, but free themes really have come a long way. With greater quality control on the mothership, along with so many generous and great coders, there are many very hot ones available, ones that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. I, too, have recommended Underscores to people who clearly will benefit from that as a base.

    Regarding paid theme support, no two companies are alike. Some have better code support than end-user support, for instance. One of the most popular theme companies doesn’t really have much of either, IMO, and I’m sorry I ever used them. It’s kind of like hosting where everyone claims to have 110% uptime. :) Say anything to make the sale. I’d go so far as to say that some paid themes support is worth almost zero anyway, so why not try something free?

    I’m very self-sufficient, so I’m OK as long as the code is high quality (and better yet, clear enough to modify easily). If I needed lots of end-user support, I would most likely be just as unhappy as the hordes of newbie theme buyers whose complaints I see in the forums.

    Make, by Theme Foundry, is another nice freebie worth checking out, that allows quite a bit of building without genius coding skills.

    Thanks, Dave

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    1. Hi Dave! Thanks for mentioning Make. We’re really excited about the community support that continues to grow around our theme and it’s always nice to see comments like this on lists like this one. :)

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      1. Melissa,
        You’re welcome! Ithaca – wow, we’re almost neighbors! I could use a Madeleine’s meal right about now.

        I will also mention that Make does have a paid upgrade with even more stuff, but the free version is very full of goodies, enough for many people IMO.

        To me it also has a minimal hipster type of name, like an upscale restaurant in a big city. ;) That’s why I mentioned the company name, to supplement the bare verb!

        Cheers, Dave

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      2. Oh, very cool! We should organize an upstate WP Meetup sometime! I don’t get to your neck of the woods often enough either. Ithaca is a bubble, as you can imagine!

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  6. Absolutely no guarantee on ANY theme, free or premium. I am now in the habit of running themes through the Theme Check plugin to get an idea of how “up to snuff they are” with current standards as a benchmark.

    I feel that many premium themes are just too bloated. I prefer the approach of a very simple framework and add only what the client requires… instead of 300 bells and whistles and only using 10 of them.

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    1. I definitely agree with Rick. I now develop with debug on all the time, and that’s an education. I also have been using wptest.io – that gives a huge bunch of all types of content, including bizarre edge cases.

      It’s a great way to avoid unpleasant surprises. Such as “oh oh, I forgot to write CSS for that form, and it looks horrendous!” Fun content like titles that are way too long, absurd numbers of flyouts, excessive dropdown menus, images that are way too big, etc. You know, the stuff that all our clients ask for. :)

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  7. These nameless Bloated Themes are edging towards being Apps.
    If I wanted an App, the Playstore would be the place to look for such :p

    Free vs Prem? there’s a ton of pros and cons for both – nor the place or time.

    This collection of the ‘Top 15 Free WordPress Themes Released in 2014’ is a good place to get ideas and even try one or two out.

    Thank Sarah.

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  8. I won’t lie. I used Hemingway twice last year. I’d say by this list that Anders Norén had a good 2014.

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