Planning on starting up a new blog sometime soon? If the thought of having to scroll through the WordPress theme directory gives you a headache (and with infinite scroll, you might be there a while), worry not.
I’ve cut through the muck just for you. Here you’ll find a couple of blog themes we featured last year that are still being maintained (and still look awesome) plus a whole crop of new ones. Once you’re done browsing this list, I’m certain you’ll want to make at least 50 new blogs. Am I the only one who wants to build a new site every time they run across a new theme they like?
If creating a personal blog is your aim, Writr is a good choice. This minimalist theme sports a style reminiscent of Tumblr and allows your content to stand front and center. It comes with six color schemes including the default turquoise plus green, grey, blue, red, and purple.
It also has stylish typography, multiple post types, a spot to display your Gravatar, and a lefthand sidebar that keeps navigation close at hand but out of the way.
Here’s a gorgeous theme that’s actually very simple but uses typographic elements to draw readers in and keep them on the site for a long time. It’s optimized for readability, which is kind of an important thing when establishing a blog.
typefocus prioritizes whitespace, stylized formatting, and subtle color differentiations to create an easy-on-the-eyes reading experience. This theme is mobile responsive, offers a fixed left sidebar or a scrollable one, and can be changed up with a multitude of color schemes.
Syntax is a theme developed by Automattic that offers a clean reading space for visitors to your site. It’s so simple and offers large headers and body text that’s easy to read for long periods of time. It’s ideal for long reads and includes a responsive design so readers can jump from device to device with no problems.
This theme also includes a fixed navigation menu that expands when clicked but can stay out of the way when reading. It’s distraction-free and perfect for writers who want to highlight their words and nothing more.
Here’s another simple, responsive blog theme that puts your content front and center without distraction. But this theme does offer some visual appeal, too, by including large featured images, the ability to add a custom logo, social media icons, and the ability to adjust the sidebar layout to the left or the right.
Ignite also comes with five fonts, custom background colors, and the option to upgrade to the premium version, Ignite Plus. Multiple post formats, threaded comment support, and a responsive layout round out the feature set here.
Another theme worth checking out for your next blog is called Drop. It’s made by the same guy who made the Ignite theme above, Ben Sibley, and offers a simple responsive layout that’s intuitive to navigate and put to use.
It features a left-hand sidebar that displays your Gravatar, a site tagline, your site’s pages, and social icons. You can also display dropdown menus in this space. Posts emphasize large featured images, bold headlines, and aesthetically pleasing fonts that are easy to read on any screen size.
Hexa is everything a blogging theme should be: lightweight, straightforward, and fun. It offers a stylish color scheme, and geometric touches throughout to add interest and individuality to your site. Headlines are large and in charge, text is easy to read, and images are bold and enticing.
It includes multiple post format support, sticky posts, featured images, widgetized areas, social icons, custom menu support, plus support for a custom header and background.
Twenty-Fifteen is one of the default WordPress themes, of course, but I have to make mention of it here because it’s such an effective choice. This theme is all about the blog and is designed to make your content readable at a glance. It’s responsible and uses typography that’s easy on the eyes.
With its mobile-first design, large featured images, lefthand sidebar, and minimalistic flair, it’s no wonder why Twenty-Fifteen continues to be a top theme.
And in case you want to be one step ahead, the next default WordPress theme is Twenty-Sixteen, which takes the nice typography, white space, and minimalistic sidebar of the previous incarnation a step forward.
This theme includes everything we’ve come to expect from a blogging theme—a large header, sidebar, and responsive design. It includes custom color options, pre-selected color schemes, and multiple post formats. Plus, it looks really nice, which is kind of the whole point, right?
Minimalism is the name of the game these days, and it’s easy to see why. Omega is a responsive theme that can be used as a parent theme for creating any sort of design you want. It’s built on HTML5, is SEO optimized, and includes a framework design that’s inherently flexible.
As a blog theme, Omega is simple yet visually compelling, offering a large header, featured images, and a large sidebar that gives your content space.
If a Tumblr-style blog is what you’re looking for, SuevaFree is a good option. It sports a responsive design that’s ideal for showing off your best content without anything extra getting in the way. The masonry layout allows for a grid-style presentation that puts your content at the reader’s fingertips.
It also features unlimited sidebars. A premium version of this theme is available as well that comes with sliders and two child themes.
Hemingway is one of my favorite blog themes because, quite simply, it’s beautiful. It’s basic in its presentation but is clean and optimized for reading, SEO, and overall UX. This responsive theme features two columns, is responsive and retina-ready, and includes a parallax scrolling effect on the full-width header.
You can customize many other aspects of this theme as well like the logo, widgets, and accent colors. There are several page templates to choose from and the whole thing is translation-ready, too.
The Tec-Blogger theme is a simple blog theme perfect for creating a personal site in a hurry. It includes a full-width header, a lefthand sidebar, and widgets. The layout is responsive and scales to any device.
Other than that, this theme doesn’t have much else by way of features but that’s what I like about it. It’s simple. And if you need to get a blog up like, yesterday, then this theme will do the job and look decent in the role.
The ParaBlogger theme is a good choice for bloggers that write posts regularly. It’s great for quick posts that don’t need a lot of formatting. In terms of customization, you can change the header image add a custom menu, and add widgets in the footer area. This theme also supports page templates for archives, categories, tags, and authors.
The Microblog theme is ideal for those who post multiple times per day. So small news publications, Tumblr-style sites, or even blogs that showcase tweets could make use of this one.
Some of its features include a minimal design with plenty of white space, aesthetically pleasing navigation that is located in an expandable menu on the lefthand side of the screen, support for Gravatars, and the option to sign into the site with Twitter.
Another theme you might want to consider is actually a child theme for Origami. It’s called Origami Paper and this theme is very simple but can support a lot of different features when utilized to its full capacity.
This theme includes a background image that looks like wood paneling and details that add an overall warm feeling to your website. The theme can actually be used for more than just a blog and when paired with the Site Origins Page Builder, can be used to create business sites, landing pages, and more.
The Nouveau Riche theme is ideal for blogging because it’s simple. It includes support for a custom header and multiple post formats including galleries, asides, and video. You can also customize the colors using the theme customizer.
The full-width header is eye-catching and you can also include a custom avatar to add some personality. Large featured images, attractive read more buttons, and an expandable menu round out the feature set here.
The Publication theme can be used for both blogs and magazines. Basically, it’s effective for telling stories primarily due to its use of a very large full screen header image, overlaid article headlines and teasers, and eye-catching typography.
While you can use this theme for blogs on any subject, the demo site is about travel, which seems to be a good use of this themes features.
At first glance, the Zoomify theme almost looks too simple. The whole thing is practically white space but what matters here is its precise use of typographical elements. This theme is clean and polished and perfect for featuring your very best writing with minimal distractions.
The headlines are large and all the text is centered on the screen. The “read more” buttons are subtle and there is a constant navigation bar across the top of the site so your readers will always know where they’re at.
The NEBlue theme is about as simple a theme can get without losing features. It has a customizable header with as many social icons as you want, featured images, a righthand side bar with widgets, and support for several post formats.
Other features include a responsive design, custom background, sticky posts, threaded comments, and it is translation ready.
I really like the Imaginy theme because it can easily be modified from a personal blog to a personal portfolio or small magazine. The layout is responsive, it’s built on the Bootstrap framework, and you can use the built-in theme customizer to change up the look and feel.
This theme includes support for a sidebar, four different widgetized areas, integration with 12 different social networks, and support for custom logos and favicons. The oversized featured images and typography are also nice touches here.
Topcat Lite doesn’t necessarily have any features that other blog themes don’t have, but what it does accomplish is create a focus for your content while still providing visual appeal. This responsive theme lets you set a full screen custom background and a custom header onto which your content is overlaid.
It includes support for widgetized areas in the sidebar and footer, featured images, social media integration, and multiple post formats.
If you need a blog theme that offers some flexibility, Trope is a good option. This free theme features a minimal design that is responsive and flexible enough to be used for any kind of publication site on just about any topic. Whether your focus is on photography or text or some combination of the two, this theme has you covered.
The theme is customizable and provides unlimited color options, support for widgets, SEO optimization, custom logos, and social media icons. This theme is also translation ready.
If you need a blog theme that’s designed for readability, the aptly named Readit is a good choice. This theme offers a clean design that allows for individual blog posts that feature a prominent image at the top to quickly engage readers with your content.
It also includes a righthand sidebar with all the widgets you’ve come to expect as well as support for multiple post types. This theme doesn’t have any bells and whistles because it doesn’t need them—your content is enough.
Sometimes, all you really need is a place to get your thoughts down on the page. And that’s what the keepwriting theme offers—a blog template that puts your content front and center without bogging you down with a ton of unnecessary features.
Not every theme needs a slider or gallery plugin. They don’t all need a million customization options. If you just want to get your words out, this theme will accomplish that and look good doing it. It includes stylish typography, a lightweight build, fast loading times, and a responsive layout.
Seasonal is very much so your standard blogging theme but its design is just different enough to spark some serious visual interest. It includes eye-catching typography and large featured images on posts. And it has a lefthand sidebar for all your navigational needs and site tagline.
But what sets this theme apart is the fact you can set a solid background color or an image background for the sidebar. This ramps up the visual appeal considerably, especially if you select the right photo. You also have control over the sidebar’s width and opacity as well as multiple post formats, unlimited colors, schema.org
microdata, and more.
Araiz is a really nice simple blogging theme that harkens back to earlier blogging days without skimping on form or function. The design is definitely a call back to several years ago but the UX is modern, as is the structure of the underlying code.
This theme is responsive, quick loading, and includes several modern features like custom menus, custom colors, a custom header, featured images, threaded comments, and you can choose between one or two-column layouts. Araiz is also translation ready.
I love this theme because its layout looks like one of those chapbooks you could check out at the local university library. The formatting is simple and all about the text. If you want to share your content with minimal distraction, this theme is a good choice.
The typography is easy on the eyes and you still have a fair amount of control over the appearance of your site with customization options for the background, header, and menu, plus sticky posts, microformats, and featured images. This theme is also accessibility and translation ready.
It seems there’s an influx of simple blogging themes lately and I love it. These themes put content first and if you’re managing a personal blog or a barebones online publication, themes like Vanilla Milkshake make that task a whole lot easier. For starters, it’s easier to maintain and the end result is attractive without trying too hard.
This minimal theme can be modified to use custom colors and you can toggle between a responsive or fixed layout. It also has a right sidebar, support for RTL languages, and is both accessibility and translation ready.
Vito is a seriously classy theme. It’s ideal for blogging and includes all the features you need to get your content out there like large featured images, sticky posts, and a stylish righthand sidebar that includes your widgets, a search bar, and attractive social icons.
This theme is responsive and you have control over how the header and menu appears. Vito is a two-column theme and is also translation ready.
To put it simply, Resonar is gorgeous. This free blogging theme is seriously eye-catching. With its full screen featured images and overlaid title text, there’s no denying this theme is designed to pull readers into your content and never let them go.
This theme is designed to resonate, hence the name, and offers several customization options including a custom header, custom menu, custom background, a responsive or fixed layout, RTL support, sticky posts, and featured images. Plus, it’s accessibility and translation ready, to boot.
The Rara Clean theme is simple and straightforward, just the way I like it. This responsive theme can adapt to any screen size and utilizes white space to put your content front and center. It also comes with plenty of theme options to ensure a custom site.
This theme comes with a featured slider to put your latest or best posts on display, includes three widgets, cross browser support, and is translation ready.
Minimal is the name of the game these days. And the Heinrich theme is very simple but quite attractive due to its use of a grid style layout and featured images. This theme is responsive, includes two widget areas, a social links menu, and has four post formats.
Some other features include the ability to change the background and menu, sticky posts, and threaded comments. This theme is also translation ready.
Kihon is another free blogging theme that’s very simple in its design. It supports the standard two column layout with a right hand side bar. But you can make several customizations to make this blog theme your own.
You can customize the header, including its size, add a custom logo, add custom colors and accent colors, change up the menus, and more. It also supports widgets and features a responsive layout, and supports featured images and sticky posts.
The Quidus theme is very clean and simple but includes a few elegant touches that make it stand out from the other themes on this list. This theme supports large featured images, unlimited colors, and allows you to customize numerous aspects. It includes integration with plugins like Contact Form 7 and Shortcodes Ultimate so you can create a premium looking site without spending any money.
This responsive theme is built on the Bootstrap framework. It also includes several one-click color pickers for selecting primary and accent colors all across your site, supports social icons, and includes lovely color accents on the navigation menu in the sidebar.
The Aries theme is another great option for building a blog that offers a little bit extra to users. The theme is fully responsive and comes loaded with 7 different skins so you can create the custom look you want. You can also create custom color schemes with full screen background images and accent colors.
This theme can be used to create single-column sites but you can also use a sidebar that supports widgets. You can also customize the menus, select from multiple post formats, and more.
If your aim is to create a visually oriented site, then the Yuuta theme is an excellent choice. It’s very simple but uses full screen featured images which automatically engages visitors in your content.
It also makes use of large headlines and multiple post formats to create a dynamic looking layout without much effort. Other features include a responsive design, custom menus, sticky posts and threaded comments.
Cyanotype is another theme created by Automattic that’s a very simple in its execution but offers a solid framework on which to build your site. It’s perfect for blogs and includes very large headlines for your blog posts, compelling visitors to click.
It also includes a custom menu across the top as well as social icons, featured images, and other little details that make this dark theme undeniably compelling.
Now the Adler theme is something to behold. This free theme is perfect for building a travel log with minimal effort. It can be used for personal blogs on any topic. So long as you have high quality images to use along with each post, you’ll be all set.
This theme is responsive and supports custom backgrounds, custom colors, and custom menus. It also includes a featured image header, a one column design, and multiple theme options to allow for full customization.
The Simpler theme definitely lives up to its name. It’s minimalist and follows a similar format we’re all used to for blogs: a two column layout with a widgetized sidebar. It is responsive, however, so will adjust to any screen size, and supports custom menus.
The theme also includes support for microformats to create variation in how your blog posts are presented, sticky posts, and threaded comments.
Shrake is considered a micro-blogging theme but it could easily be adapted for just about any blogging purpose. It supports a full-width template that is perfect for using fullscreen featured images on every post. The headlines for each poster also quite large, which has the benefit of drawing readers directly into your content with no distractions.
It also includes scrolling effects and a sticky logo and navigation so visitors will always be able to get around on your site with minimal effort. You can also customize the menu and background. The theme is translation ready.
The Chicago theme looks like it’s a cut above because it is. The theme is perfect for bloggers but carries an undeniably sophisticated look that could be adapted for multiple purposes. This theme is responsive so it looks good on any device, and comes with many options so you can customize the layout, colors, and more.
It also allows for custom backgrounds, custom headers, a custom menu, the ability to select between fixed or fluid layouts, and you can add promotion headlines, a featured slider, social icons, breadcrumbs, widgets, and more. It supports the built-in theme customizer and is translation ready.
The Amadeus theme is responsive and provides a modern design that includes plenty of white space so the readers know right where to look. The design is clean and includes a parallax header image and is integrated with meta slider.
The theme also includes support for Google Fonts, social icons, custom widgets, custom colors and menus, featured images, threaded comments, and more.
Now, how cool is this thing? Cover is built on the Underscores framework and comes with Font Awesome Icons so you’re certain your content will stand out. In fact this theme is all about the content and includes support for custom backgrounds, colors, and menus.
The responsive design coupled with full-width featured images and plenty of theme options gives users of this theme a chance to put their content on display in a unique way.
You can build up a very professional blog site with the Toivo Lite theme. It’s easily used for personal blogs but really shines when it’s used on business sites. It comes with a front page template that’s designed to highlight your best content, services, testimonials, and calls-to-action.
This theme supports RTL languages and includes schema.org
micro data. It also includes support for social icons, text styling, and it’s translation and accessibility-ready.
The Identity theme is simple yet attractive. It offers a Tumblr style design that can work for bloggers in many different niches. It supports all current Post Formats, and includes a custom header onto which you can add a background image and your Gravatar. You can also include a brief bio in this area.
Some other features of this theme include custom menus, featured images, a fluid and responsive layout, microformats, a left or right sidebar, sticky posts, threaded comments, and the whole thing is translation and accessibility ready.
Amalie Lite is actually built on the Twenty-Fifteen default WordPress theme but offers a brand new look that you’re sure to appreciate. This theme offers plenty of features and maintains a unique look that will capture your reader’s attention.
It sports a responsive design and includes custom colors, a custom background, custom header, and custom menu. It supports multiple post Formats including microformats and includes support for RTL languages and is accessibility and translation ready. This theme features a left sidebar, social icons, and several interesting aesthetic touches that are sure to increase visitor on-site time.
The Cruzy theme is light and airy, and best of all, totally modern. This theme is responsive and includes a full-width layout that splits the site nearly down the middle into two columns. On the lefthand side visitors will see an image with your site title, tagline, and main navigation. On the righthand side, visitors will see your content, as in your posts, sticky posts, and so forth.
The sidebar for this theme is hidden behind an expandable button, and includes four post formats, unlimited colors, custom menus, and featured images. This theme is translation ready.
Exposition Lite theme offers a great balance between large featured images and your content. It’s ideal for writers of long-form articles because it includes stylish typography and bold images that really engage readers in your story. It comes with numerous Google Font options, custom colors, and a one-column design that aims to be distraction free.
Other features include custom backgrounds, threaded comments, featured images, plus this theme is translation ready.
The MH Cicero Lite theme offers a really professional look considering the free price tag. This theme is perfect for blogs that want a little bit more of a stylish touch than what’s standard. It features a flat design that’s totally responsive and allows you to present your content in a unique way.
This theme includes support for several customization options including the background, colors, menus, and the header. It allows you to switch between full-width and two-column layouts as well as left and right sidebars. Other features include a full theme options panel, threaded comments, and it’s all translation ready.
Kouki is minimal and infinitely stylish by offering a beautiful blend of simple typography and images. This theme is great for personal blogs and works well at displaying your latest content in an attractive manner. While the theme’s creators suggest it being used by photographers and food bloggers, it could easily be adapted for any topic.
This theme comes with many customization options including custom colors and custom menus. It supports a one-column layout, is responsive, and supports featured images and threaded comments. The main menu is also hidden behind an expandable button.
I really like the look of the RetroTale theme because it sports a classic style that will never go out of fashion. It can easily be used for personal blogs as well as small business sites, magazines, and even e-commerce sites. It’s responsive and retina ready and includes three color schemes, 220 Google Fonts, and a full theme options panel for simple customization.
You can select between a boxed or wide layout and set up a custom menu, custom background, and custom header. It also supports sticky posts and featured images.
Salt is a really simple theme but I think it’s successful because of its attention to detail. This blog theme can easily be used to create child themes for your clients, includes a responsive layout, and offers full-width, two-column, & three-column layouts. You can also toggle between fixed and fluid layouts.
This theme includes a left or right sidebar, social icons, custom logo, top navigation, featured images, threaded comments, sticky posts, as well as full use of the theme options panel.
Just Write lives up to its name. This theme is all about your content and is perfect for writers. The typography suggests typewritten letters, and allows your words to stand alone. The theme features a custom header, simple top navigation, a left sidebar with custom widgets, and more.
The left sidebar can actually be toggled to be hidden from view, creating a distraction free reading experience for your site visitors. You can also customize the background, menu, and colors.
Here’s another theme created by Automattic that is undeniably attractive. Hew offers a simple design that includes bright colors to capture attention. This theme is all about your content and lets your words and photos stand on their own two feet.
It includes a custom header and custom menu and supports a one-column layout that is distraction-free. It also includes social media icons at the top to help you build new readership. Other features include featured images, sticky posts, and threaded comments.
The Lovecraft theme offers of fairly traditional blog layout with a few added touches that make it a standout choice. This two-column theme supports a responsive design, full-width customizable header image, and prominent typography to capture reader attention.
You can add a custom logo, custom accent color, and switch the whole thing to a full-width template. You can add widgets to the sidebar including a Flickr widget, add featured images, use sticky posts, and use threaded comments. This theme is translation ready.
HipWords offers a very simple design that is undeniably for blogging but includes a few other details that make it unique. This theme was built on Bootstrap, so it’s completely responsive and lightweight. It also loads very quickly.
This theme also supports a custom background, custom header, and custom menu. You can select between a one-column or two-column layout and includes a right sidebar. Add whatever widgets you like to this area. Coupled with the fact that the theme is translation ready, supports Post Formats, RTL languages, and includes support for the theme options panel, and you have a theme that is definitely worth checking out.
Minimal and flat are the name of the game in design these days and Swell Lite lives up to both terms. This responsive blog theme includes a full-width custom header with parallax scrolling. You can add a custom logo in this space as well and customize the menu and background.
This theme also offers a fixed or fluid design, a full-width for two-column layout, and a right sidebar. It also supports the theme options panel.
Radium is another great blog theme that includes a minimal design but plenty of features to get your point across. This responsive theme includes interesting typography and support for several open source fonts. You can add a custom header image and logo, change colors, and change the background image.
This theme uses the theme customizer for making these modifications and also supports several standard Post Formats. Other features include support for sticky posts, threaded comments, and featured images.
The Harmonic theme is perfect for telling your story. For starters, it’s beautiful and supports fullscreen photography to make a true statement. It can be used for a business site or personal blog and offers an opportunity to share your photos and text in a compelling way.
You can also use the theme options panel to make numerous customizations including the colors, the header, and the menu. It offers a fluid layout, responsive design, and is translation ready.
Patus can truly be used for any purpose. It is a personal blogging theme, but it could be used for any kind of publisher. This theme is lightweight and fast as well as totally responsive so will look good on any device.
This theme also supports numerous customization options and allows for a featured image header, as well as a full-width or two-column layout. Choose between a left or right sidebar and make use of the supported Post Formats, sticky posts, and featured images.
Noteskine is a seriously attractive theme for bloggers that is reminiscent of printed books and magazines while still being undeniably modern. This minimal design is perfect for those who like to publish regularly and prioritize the reader’s experience. It includes textual features that add to the UX like pull quotes, drop caps, and highlighted boxes.
This theme also includes support for eight post formats, support for numerous color variations, a custom background, and a custom header and menu. This theme is translation ready.
It’s amazing how blogging themes can approach this niche in such a variety of ways. Simply Read is a minimalist theme with a near full-width home page slider and a masonry grid layout for displaying your latest and/or best posts. You can also establish a full-width static home page template or individual page template for adding additional content to your site.
Other features include author bios, social media links, widget areas, and multiple color schemes. This theme supports post formats and microformats and is translation ready.
And last but certainly not least on our list here is the theme called Geekery. This theme is great for blogging but can also be used for magazine and news websites. It’s responsive and comes with 10 different color schemes to choose from as well as support for all the current post formats. You can also add custom fields if you wish.
This theme also comes with a social icon widget, SEO support, localization support, as well as several customization options for the background, header, menu, and colors.
If you’ve been putting off starting a blog because you couldn’t find the right free theme, now you don’t have any excuses. One of these themes is bound to suit your needs and design preferences. Now, go forth and build!
But first, I want to hear from you. What’s your favorite theme on the list? Is there another free out there I missed that’s a must-see? Share below.