7 Best Minimalist WordPress Themes for Bloggers

Minimalist themes are taking WordPress by storm lately — and there’s a good reason for that. Since “content is king” these days (especially to Google), the ongoing tinkering you need to do on your blog’s theme cuts into your ability to write outstanding blog posts and attract readers.

Experienced bloggers and newbies alike can sometimes feel they’re spending way too much time on their blog’s looks than on its content. That’s why many bloggers are turning to minimalist themes to help them get back on track.

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What Bloggers Look for in a Theme

Different types of bloggers have different requirements from a theme. A new blogger looks for easy setup while experienced bloggers want to be able to mimic their blog’s existing functionality. Artsy bloggers focus on design elements and beautiful presentation of their work whereas Geeky bloggers require flexible coding options. Entrepreneurial and corporate bloggers need a theme that can also work as a storefront or a stand-alone website.

As different as we bloggers can be, there are still some elements everyone wants from a theme. We want an attractive theme that projects our blog’s personality and fits within our budget.

Why Minimalist Themes Are Popular

Minimalist themes started to gain steam when Google and Apple began streamlining their designs. Google switched to Material Design while Apple has continually operated under the “less is more” design philosophy. Where these two mega-corporations lead, most others will follow — even when it comes to blogging themes.

Another factor that influences theme design is the current emphasis on making websites “responsive” to the various screen sizes for mobile devices. Themes that scale up and down for small and large screens can’t afford a lot of visual clutter, since design elements can become warped or unreadable as they stretch and squash.

While it’s possible to omit certain design elements of a theme from its mobile version, many themes don’t offer an optimal mobile layout. You may find, for example, that some elements appear too large on a cellphone screen or social sharing buttons are tiny and not suited to “fat fingers.” Minimalist themes tend to avoid many of the perils inherent in responsive design.

Best Minimalist WordPress Blogging Themes

For the purposes of this article, we’ve chosen themes that focus on ease of blogging rather than themes that are more suited to business websites. We’ve made it easy for you can scan this list, so you can see which ones match your blogger type, your personality, the level of skill required to work with the theme, price, and overall flexibility. Let’s get to it!

Made For Bloggers: Stash

Stash calls itself the “quintessential WordPress theme for bloggers” and it’s hard to argue with that moniker . It features a lot of white space that calls attention to your words rather than bells and whistles. In fact, it’s so spare that you only get one image on the homepage along with a list of your latest blog posts.

Although Stash may lack a flashy design, it’s simple and quick to deploy. It allows for only one menu, cutting down on deep clicks that readers may get lost in. Serious writers can get a blog configured and ready for posting in about five minutes. Your readers will appreciate how quickly your blog loads without image-heavy menus and parallax sliders.

Don’t mistake simplicity for lack of functionality, though. Stash lets you add icons for all your social sites, MailChimp forms, Google Analytics, SEO meta data, and Twitter feeds.

  • Best for: Stash is best for New bloggers because it’s quick and simple to deploy.
  • Cost: $69
  • Unique elements: Quick loading, easy setup, writing-focused.
  • Live Demo | Where to get it
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The Stash theme’s homepage is text-focused.

 

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Stash’s post template remains clean but also allows for a colorful header image.

 

Colorful: Typology

Typology is a minimalist design that features bright, rich colors and clean typography, making it a visual feast for your readers. So, instead of featured images for each post, Typology lets you opt for drop caps and a clean font, making each post title look like a work of art.

If you like featuring images, though, don’t despair. Typology allows for five different homepage designs, some including background images and parallax scrolling. Widgets let readers open a snazzy hidden sidebar from the hamburger menu icon.

The Typology theme appears to be partially inspired by Medium, a social platform for writers. Like Medium, it shows visitors the the length of time it will take to read your posts and indicates comment numbers, both of which are right under the post title.

  • Best for: Any blogger looking for a colorful, reading-focused theme.
  • Cost: $49
  • Unique elements: Post reading time, gorgeous font design, eye-catching color, large drop caps.
  • Live Demo | Where to get it
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The Typology theme’s default homepage features a block of pure color, but you can swap it for an image if you like.

 

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One of Typology’s alternate homepage layouts features watermarked drop-caps.

 

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Typology’s post page features the option to float the author’s name in the footer.

Free: Revive

Revive is so beautiful that it may be difficult to accept that it’s a free theme. A bold image at the top of the homepage allows you to set the tone of your blog’s design. Underneath it you can link to your social sites with round icons.

The lower part of the homepage is made up of a mosaic of featured images for each post with titles and posting dates included, if you like. Revive supports CSS3 and HTML5 coding, so you can tinker under the hood using current web technologies.

You can upgrade to Revive Pro for $45. It comes WooCommerce-ready and offers additional layouts.

  • Best for: Geeky, Artsy, or New bloggers who wish to feature images as much as text.
  • Cost: Free
  • Unique elements: Image mosaic homepage, one-color accent design, CSS3/HTML5 support.
  • Live Demo | Where to get it

Bold: Sylène

Sylène is a stylish blog that doesn’t get in the way of your blog’s message. Its spare use of color allows you to use your blog’s featured images to create its own color palette on the homepage. However, by overlaying images with a snippet of each post’s text means that the photos serve the text, not the other way around.

7 best minimalist wordpress themes

If you don’t like the gray and white color scheme, Sylène lets you customize the colors and the background. Bloggers with an international following will appreciate that Sylène also comes translation-ready (English and French are included).

Sylène provides a widget area at the bottom of each post, ensuring that your homepage stays uncluttered but also allowing you to add functionality like newsletter signups or selected similar posts.

  • Best for: Artsy bloggers (writers or photographers) because of Sylène’s image/text combo design.
  • Cost: 39€
    Unique elements: Translation-ready, widgets on post pages, uncluttered home page that emphasizes your work.
  • Live Demo | Where to get it

Gallery: Magnus

Magnus describes itself as a photoblogging theme and it delivers in spades. The homepage acts like a giant mural for your post’s featured images, titled in blocky white lettering. It delivers high-impact color (based on the photos you choose for your posts) but the theme itself takes a backseat to this striking fade-in gallery effect.

best minimalist wordpress themes

Try out the demo of this theme. When you click on a photo, there’s a gradual fade in of the image accompanied by a subtle, elegant zoom effect.

 

When you click into a post in Magnus, the gallery picture (recommended to be at least 2000px wide) takes up the full width of the screen and your accompanying text is highlighted by the serif font, Karla. While Magus has a dark background on the homepage, the post pages feel lighter.

  • Best for: Artsy bloggers because of the bold gallery presentation on the home page.
  • Cost: Free
    Unique elements: Bold, colorful tiles of featured images, easy-to-read post font, no complicated settings to master.
  • Live Demo | Where to get it

Monochromatic: Decoro

Decoro is a monochromatic theme with a light touch. The title fonts are spaced with wide kerning and run from light gray to dark gray. The homepage features a huge high-resolution photo that takes up the entire screen space “above the fold.” The image for each individual post is similarly highlighted when you click through.

Decoro is definitely targeted towards photographers or other bloggers working in visual arts. It even goes so far as to come with a custom, built-in “Pin this” Pinterest button that appears on mousing over an image. As proof of its total commitment to minimalist design, Decoro doesn’t even offer a sidebar or widget areas.

  • Best for: New or Artsy bloggers because of its uncomplicated setup and emphasis on photography.
  • Cost: $40
    Unique elements: Custom Pinterest mouseover button, masonry style posts, full-screen feature images.
  • Live Demo | Where to get it

Ultra-Minimal: Unicode

Unicode is about the most minimal theme you can get. It’s just generic black text on a white background. Although you can add Facebook and Twitter sharing buttons, that’s the extent of the frills this theme offers. Thanks to its sparseness, Unicode is extremely quick to load.

best wordpress minimalist themes

And now for something ultra-minimalist…

Although Unicode’s homepage design doesn’t show any photos, you can put photos on your individual posts and even include galleries. You can also add categories to posts and feature them on the theme’s top menu.

  • Best for: Geeky or New bloggers who don’t have any time or inclination to worry about configuring “extras” for their blog.
  • Cost: $39
    Unique elements: Absolutely bare minimum of what a theme can do, social sharing buttons, fast loading, text-focused.
  • Live Demo | Where to get it

Conclusion

Changing your blog’s theme doesn’t have to be an ordeal. If you opt to go with a minimalist design, it might serve your blog’s content better than a fancier theme by keeping the focus on your content. Don’t be afraid to test out one of these minimalist themes — let us know how you liked it!

Natalie has been blogging since before the word “blog” existed. Her work has been published on Engadget, Laptopmag.com, Tom’s Guide, and About.com. She lives in Southern California with her husband, their feline-American children, and a banjo.

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