WordPress themes evolved drastically in the last 5 years. As a platform WordPress started out strictly for blogging purposes alone, but nowadays more and more themes act as frameworks. Tools that can power not only blogs but communities and large-scale businesses. This growth of theme categories has led to themes becoming bloated and full of fancy tools, which aren’t always required or necessary. Albeit, it’s nice to have a theme that does it all without any additional plugins!
However, minimal and minimalist themes are still in high demand. Largely thanks to the fact that WordPress has such a diverse community. Minimal design is more of a personality/style preference, and minimal designs often allow for more flexibility and customization with plugins. If you are amongst those writers who value clean and minimal design, then you’ve come to the right place to find a theme for your new WordPress website!
The following minimalist themes are absolutely free to download and are super varied in their design style and display. We do our best to provide roundups of themes that cover the given niche, which in minimalist in this case, in its full glory. And if you ever need help to customize or adjust a particular theme to your liking, we are always here to help. Just scroll down to the comment section at the end of this post and leave a comment.
Activello from Colorlib incorporates the elements of a blog and magazine into one blend of a theme. The layout remains consistently fresh, with a clean base and minimalistic approach to styling. If you are in the market for a free theme, then Activello is one to consider. Minimal uses an advanced slideshow widget which makes it a great theme for lifestyle, travel, fashion, and photography blogs. Of course, it can be used for whatever project you’re currently planning to release.
Furthermore, the simple typography with plenty of white spaces makes Activello a great theme to tell your stories with. In addition to a versatile header, the footer area is divided into 3 columns, each widgetized, and with plenty of space for extra content. Most of all, Activello includes widgets for author information, social media icons, popular and recent posts. The codebase is structured with SEO elements in mind, making it a perfect theme if you want something that is already SEO optimized.More info / Download Demo
Blaskan is a blog and magazine specialized WordPress theme. It has a distinctive look with a minimalistic light concept. It features 8 categories including cinema, adventures and landscapes. Blaskan uses a strategically placed menu, and a beautiful top bar. Get a contact page, a recent posts section and more, integrated on a footer. Play around with the 3 columns to set your writing posts with pictures included. Blaskan is entirely free, downloadable and features a demo. Search posts with its discrete search bar next to social media buttons. You will get tons of useful documentation to get quickly started. Get Blaskan!More info / Download Demo
Breviter is a handsome, handcrafted and free WordPress theme for blogs and professionals. With Breviter, making your online homepage unique and original is easier than ever. Every element in Breviter has been carefully designed to attract and engage audiences. Each different post type has unique post styles to stand out. Your visitors will never miss an image post, a gallery, a video or a link from you. Breviter’s clever design gives your content the context to be memorable. You can be building a client base, seeking an employer or telling your stories. Breviter makes the job easier every time. Get Breviter for free today!More info / Download Demo
The Minimum Minimal theme reminds us of bloggers like ZenHabits, who have embraced the simplicity of minimalism and position content as the first priority. The way that Minimum works are that you get a lean list of posts on the homepage, with two navigation options. The first option is to sort posts through categories, while the other option is to sort them through tags. As a result, you can make a concise archive of your posts by indexing them based on tags and categories. Posts themselves are full-width, with lots of room for customization using CSS.
Two other things included in the posts layout are an Author Box and a Comments Section. Footer area remains fairly simple, and you could put a link or two in there if you like. And an actual navigation uses the mobile-style hamburger icon, once clicked on, the menu unfolds with navigation links, a search form, and also social media network icons.More info / Download Demo
The Voce theme is ideal for bloggers who publish articles with a lot of text. Surprisingly, it works amazingly well for coders and designers who write long-form tutorials. It does look like the author of Voce is a developer himself, and so made the decision to build a theme that supports his cause. Voce uses a three-section header. Upper, middle, and lower. The upper part header is for any kind of site-wide links and social icons. Whereas the middle section is for your logo, whether full-size or an image in the middle. Of course, text logo’s are also possible to insert.
The last part, which is the lower section, consists of category links. Those links are spread out evenly and make it convenient for readers to quickly jump from category to category. As far as readability goes, Voce excels with clear typography, and instead of using WordPress comments is using the Facebook Comments widget. And that’s pretty much it, which classified Voce as a true minimalist theme.More info / Download Demo
Mighty WP is a new player in the WordPress theme scene, and are making their first debut with Publisherly. This colorful and impactful theme is ideal for business blogs, personal writing blogs, and even magazines! We adore the placement of navigation, posts, and the sidebar, which feels natural and intuitive to browse. Even for a first release, the Publisherly theme easily outperforms some of the best selling themes in this niche. The makers of Publisherly are letting everyone know that a new version is soon going to become available, including a Pro version with premium features. Nevertheless, you can fire up your Customizer in WordPress and do at least some basic CSS editing before the next release.More info / Download Demo
Starting out as an artist, or anyone in the creative field isn’t an easy task. The first steps in the journey are always the hardest, as you frequently find yourself starving for more work. And more often than not, starving for some solid income. But, the grind is necessary to build up a solid portfolio for yourself. And eventually, you can launch a portfolio website to showcase what you have learned, and what your real expertise is. Once you reach that point, you can consider using Portfolio Lite, a smooth portfolio theme from Organic Themes.
The Organic Themes team is not so different from all other creatives, they had to start from zero themselves. And with that in mind, the Portfolio Lite theme reflects the design features that a freelance artist needs to display his work in the best way possible. The theme emphasizes minimalist design with a professional outline. So, your readers can focus on seeing your work and presentation, rather than be distracted by clutter. And if your readers are coming to your site using an Apple product, the retina-ready design can truly make your work shine!More info / Download Demo
The elegance is Spiffy is unmatched. When thinking of Spiffy, we think of creamy background colors, smooth aesthetics, and stunning photography to go alongside your stories. Spiffy Lite uses full-size images for every part/page of your blog. So, if you happen to be a photographer or someone who works with a lot of visual content, you might find Spiffy an attractive choice. Of course, you might think that full-size images go against the rules of minimalism. But, in reality, the images complement the rest of the design, which is kept to a bare minimum. Just look at how the navigation menu is divided from the overall design, yet blends together with other elements effortlessly. It’s a display of designing skill and is sure to be a theme that people will learn to love and cherish.
Once you explore the Lite version, perhaps it is time to update to Pro! The Pro version differs in multiple ways. A major difference is in content display. Rather than using a traditional list, the Pro version uses a full-page grid and shows images in different sizes. So, with that in mind, Spiffy is ideal for photo bloggers, and photography experts in general.More info / Download Demo
Even though free WordPress themes can often be limiting in their diversity, it is still possible to find many amazing gems. And Blog Way is one such gem, an impressive theme for bloggers and writers. The best way to describe Blog Way is by comparing it to a wireframe. Within a wireframe, you have a blank page upon which you can draw anything. For a blog, the first thing you are going to draw is the header, sidebar, and content list. Blog Way is exactly that. A wireframe with three core principles drawn on top of it. Post borders are properly in dark colors, as is much of the sidebar, and the margins between elements are big enough for everything to feel united together.
The premium versions of Blog Way is available for purchase on ThemeForest and comes with many more features. But don’t let the premium talk discourage you. Free versions of Blog Way is still rich in features and can be customized through Live Customizer endlessly.More info / Download Demo
People start blogs fro plethora of different reasons. Someone might do it to make money, while others may use a blog as a means to report journalism. Most commonly though, a blog is used to express passion. A passion for writing. And writer themes are some of the most sought after on both free and premium marketplaces. The Writers theme is a modern and clean WordPress theme which presents your written stories with elegance.
With a core focus on readability (thanks to great typography and colors), this SEO optimized theme performs incredibly well under heavy reader load. Journalists, authors, and bloggers are the most common type of people who use the Writers theme. The minimal aspect of Writers comes into play when you look at how elements are presented on the homepage. Posts and Widgets are divided by healthy margins, making it easier for readers to notice things individually. Whereas the header is a full-frame slideshow where you can place a photograph of yourself or the topic that you are writing about.More info / Download Demo
Asterion is a one-page powerhouse theme with many modern features and a design that’s going to leave a lasting impression. Sure, it does have slightly more elements added to it than you’d expect, but it’s not hard to notice that Asterion maintains things simple. The problem with all the premium themes is that they oversaturate the necessary elements of a website, and thus make it hard for bloggers to decide which design is the best. Whereas Asterion clearly makes its purpose clear, it’s a business theme (with minimal design) for bloggers, portfolios, and startups as well.
The best design feature of Asterion is the actual introduction header. It’s composed of three things. Navigation, which is separated with a divider, a background image (full-page) and a website text in the middle of the page. As always, if you are a creative artist or a freelancer, and wish to expand your business using a website, then Asterion is a wise choice to consider.More info / Download Demo
Theme77 mainly releases premium themes, but occasionally give away some of their work for free. As is the case with Valazi — a light WordPress theme for magazines and newspaper blogs. The minimalist part comes into play when you consider how things are aligned. A featured posts slideshows sit within a whitespace background, unlike on other websites, where featured posts can be confused for actual latest content. Valazi uses a two-button structure for displaying Latest and Popular posts. And because those two buttons are AJAX’ified, you can instantly switch from Latest to Popular without refreshing the page.
Primal is a multipurpose theme with a responsive and elegant design. And uses CSS3 animations to make the browsing experience a tad bit more dynamic. For the Grid system, Primal is using Skeleton. While codebase is semantic, with latest HTML5 and CSS3 features. Best of all, Genex Themes have put it a lot of love into the Primal theme, ensuring that every user is satisfied. But most importantly, Primal is a theme which listens to your input. If you don’t like something, then simply remove it. Or, do the exact opposite thing, add something twice!
Of course, when you watch the demo it doesn’t look minimal at all, not at first at least. But this is what we mean by saying, “add what you want” or “remove what you don’t want”. As a result, Primal can be configured to display only a few elements at a time on any single page. You can learn how to make it happen by studying the documentation. Notable features of Primal are WooCommerce to create an online shop, customer reviews widgets, multiple sidebars, and Google Maps for business location display.More info / Download Demo
You may be getting tired of seeing all these fancy themes, and we totally understand. Part of our intention with any theme roundup is to make it diverse, and not stale. We learn from experience and know that readers appreciate when a roundup includes alternatives and creative ways of looking at things. But, Burger Factory is a theme that keeps it old-school, and truly minimal! This writer-optimized theme is simple enough that the only two things you find on the homepage are a sidebar and a list of posts. Post lists can be shown as titles only, but if you prefer, you can display a small excerpt of a specific word length. Inside the posts, you have the classic WordPress post layout, with an added social sharing widget, and even an email subscription form. Perfect, and pretty much as minimal as they get.More info / Download Demo
Branches is a minimalistic and clean theme for blogs and magazines. It provides just the bare minimum of options necessary to run a successful blog. The design is optimized for retina displays, and apart from post images doesn’t use any visuals within the design. As a result, it is lightweight and has a great Google PageSpeed ranking. Of course, if performance is something you’re concerned about. The included fonts in Branches are more than enough to give you diversity, but also to maintain a strict readability focus. Within Live Customizer, you can change colors of hover effects, assign primary and secondary fonts, and also upload a header logo if you like. Sidebars in Branches are optimal and can be disabled if that’s the route you wish to take. The theme is tested and proven to work with common WordPress plugins and widgets.More info / Download Demo
Teletype is a Bootstrap theme which uses retro typography to install a retro-like feel to your blog. Bloggers who prefer the clean layout and a masonry grid will find Teletype an excellent companion. With Teletype, you can control things like element order, font types, and colors for individual buttons/sections. Furthermore, using theme options you can change header images, customize background colors, and adjust sidebar display. The menu’s in Teletype are plentiful. A primary menu can be displayed in horizontal display on the default location, while a footer menu is a great place for displaying social media information.
The ease of adding social media menu’s is astonishing and makes for a joyful experience to edit things so quickly. The front page, core homepage, is based on Sections and can be rearranged using Customizer. It’s as simple as enabling or disabling a specific element. In short, Teletype is a theme for professionals who wish to promote their services and work using a digital medium. There are enough ways to display a portfolio, to write blog posts, and even host an eCommerce store.More info / Download Demo
As a minimal theme, the Oncanvas has to be one of my personal favorites. As a professional myself, I love when a theme lets you put everything on the front display. Oncanvas uses a special grid layout which enables for professionals to show information about themselves before the content. As a result, your visitors can quickly learn about who you are and what it is that you do. That same widget contains room for social icons and a beautiful profile picture of yourself. Shortly below this intro widget is a list of your recent posts.
The posts displays are once again based on a grid layout but don’t use overly much text. Instead, posts images are shown with a small addition of post title and category using a smaller than average font size. When readers jump into a blog post, the first thing they see is a massive featured image. It’s ideal for making a statement of what your post is going to be about. The rest of the post design is fairly standard, 2/3 width content area, and 1/3 for the sidebar.More info / Download Demo
Everyone perceives a genre differently. But, when you think of minimal, you know for sure that minimal means as little as possible. And Lightpress lives up to this definition with its heart and soul. This clean, minimal and blog post oriented theme is great for storytellers and writers who simply love to write. And oftentimes, it’s the blog designs with a minimal design that manage to sustain a regular audience. Even some of the major newspaper publications are moving towards a more minimal design approach, simply because it doesn’t interfere with the reading experience.
Marketing can still be done, with methods like adding subscription forms at the end of the post. While some might prefer to use affiliate marketing links within the post content. Needless to say, we are moving out of the era where a blog alone can sustain a comfortable way of living. But, who says you’re in it for the money. Lightpress is a great theme for independent writers who simply wish to connect with their audience.More info / Download Demo
Unless a developer says a theme is strictly “minimal’ and nothing else, it’s safe to assume that a theme has an intended purpose. In the case of Counter, a theme from ThemePatio, this beauty is a business theme for bakeries, restaurants, coffee stores, and similar businesses. Unlike other themes which use a Page Builder for design management, the Counter is using WordPress Live Customizer. A fairly flexible customization tool for managing the tiniest of details on your site. And especially flexible if the developers of a theme plug some interactive functionality inside of the customizer.
ThemePatio has certainly done this, and you can add/remove/edit things as you please. When talking about the design, we get a lightweight feeling with a clean structure. A neat little addition is the display of certain pages. On one side you have an image, while the other part contains a description. And then one element below, the same thing but with reversed positions. It’s interesting how such a small design tweak can make such a huge impact on user experience.More info / Download Demo
Bloger is a simple yet minimal WordPress template for professionals, bloggers, and even magazine editorials. The list of features is rich enough to cover all aspects of website requirements. With a mobile friendly design, a bbPress integration, and translation-ready files, the Bloger is usable for community projects. Within the theme, you will find three stylish layouts, Live Customizer, boxed layout option, and a unique featured posts section on the front page.
Personal bloggers and professionals can improve their blog appearance with widgets like Instagram and Pinterest feeds. Social media is a means of marketing for many bloggers, but also a way to stay in touch with your community on regular basis. When you add a widget like Instagram to your site, you can accumulate followers at a much more faster rate. Thousands are using Bloger for their website, will you join them?More info / Download Demo
WPStash is an upcoming project which plans to create and list themes, plugins, and the best WordPress deals. So far, WordPress Stash has managed to publish five unique themes! Whilst other sections of their business site are still under heavy development. The Gatsby is a traditional WordPress blogging theme with nothing but content to display. Hence, it is a minimalist theme which focuses solely on content readability and display. Front page content display is shown in a grid layout, which can be changed up (column numbers) in Customizer. We feel that Gatsby is a good theme for bloggers, writers, and small-size magazines. While other minimalist themes avoid using a footer, the Gatsby theme is using the footer section as a way to promote more website information. And it works flawlessly.More info / Download Demo
Genius uses Isotope — a picturesque grid system plugin for displaying tasty portfolios. As a result, Genius is a theme for portfolio needs. The basic setup is rather simple, you get an area for displaying a horizontal navigation menu, which is followed by the grid list. However, you can add an additional paragraph above the grid portfolio with an introduction of yourself or your business. The portfolio itself is based on categories, and any new post added to your blog will automatically show up, using the featured image. Categories are based on filters, and readers can select a specific category or View All sections at once.More info / Download Demo
Typist is a free WP theme for writers as it primarily focuses on typography. In the box, you get multiple color palettes, three layouts, more than 20 font choices, five different site width variations, and two unique widget areas. Furthermore, the theme includes a drop-down menu, social media icons, Jetpack support, and support for BuddyPress and bbPress Forums. Overall, Typist is a clean theme which loads fast and is optimized for mobile devices. Most of all you can consider upgrading to the Pro version. In the pro package, you get additional widgets, new color schemes, more social media buttons, and featured images for posts and pages. Is a theme like Typist worth the investment? Technically, yes, more so when you consider than the author is willing to provide lifetime updates without additional cost.More info / Download Demo
Lyretail is an official theme on behalf of Automattic, the parent company for WordPress. This, Lyretail, template is also available for installation on the WordPress.com platform, completely for free. This one-column theme integrates a powerful visual appearance, intended for writing-heavy blogs. Lyretail puts your social presence front and center, displaying social links prominently below the site title and logo, so readers can easily find you on your favorite social networks. Furthermore, you can add a unique website title (or a logo placement) by going to the Customizer settings panel and finding Site Identity dashboard.
The Lyretail theme supports more than 20+ social networks with icons, including lesser known sites like Polldaddy, Pocket, and Digg. Ahh, and what about the completely unique navigation menu? Have you ever seen a site where the menu drops down from the top of the page? Well, now you have (as long as you preview the demo!), because Lyretail uses its own custom navigation links display. Once a reader clicks on the menu item, the contents of the menu unfold from the sky. Well, almost from the sky!More info / Download Demo
Cols also comes from Automattic. And similarly to Lyretail, is available for free download as a WordPress standalone theme, or to be used on WordPress.com! This beauty is intended for novelists and long-form story writers. Cols maintains a simple yet powerful style and resembles the appearance of a book. Standard posts are shown using a magazine-style display, using three columns for big screens, two columns for medium screens, and one column for smartphones and other devices. Furthermore, Cols supports numerous dynamic post types — images, videos, quotes, links, chats, and aside stories. Within the supported features list, you can find featured images, custom menus, headers, and backgrounds. Security problems should be non-existent as the owners of WordPress themselves are behind the development of this beast.More info / Download Demo
A theme like DW Mono does many things, one of which portrays a unique style of creativity. Often you have to deal with themes that have a bloated core of thin features. As a result, developers forget about the best practices of using WordPress. The side-effect of this comes from developers like DesignWall, publishing a new style of WordPress themes. So, how exactly is DW Mono different? One of the things that we thought was most unique was the way that a two-column grid is being utilized.
If you check the homepage of DW Mono and start scrolling up and down, you will immediately notice that only one side of the site is scrolling. The other side is at a standstill. It’s a place for a visual image or a site introduction. But the real magic happens when you open a blog post. Then, the other side is transformed into a blog post title with its own personal image. But, it still remains static. Giving readers the chance to simply focus on reading what you have written. Definitely worth exploring, could potentially be the minimal style that you’re trying to find.More info / Download Demo
Modern Decode is a fork from the famous Decode theme. This fork is authored by Raiber Cristian. Raiber, a WordPress developer, is trying to convert the Decode theme into a friendly solution for people who love to emphasize their writing. Decode is a theme that countless companies, brands, and individuals have used to create full-blown content websites. The Modern Decode theme, on the other hand, is targeted for individuals and professionals with simple writing needs. Needless to say, it retains the stylish appearance of Decode but manages to do most of the hard work without the extra room being taken up. The Modern version of Decode theme maintains mobile responsiveness, with a semantic structure for best search engine exposure. When you focus only on writing, it helps to give search engines a clear idea of how your content is structured.More info / Download Demo
writerBlog from CodeInWP is a dynamic blog for writers with a handful of interactive plugins/widgets. The best feature of writerBlog is the integration with SiteOrigin Page Builder. As a result, you can enjoy being in total charge of the design your site is using. Don’t forget that the overall theme will retain its core design, which is simple and nice. The writerBlog uses hardly any color additions except for a little bit of Orang here and there. Furthermore, you can add an online store with WooCommerce, for which there is a separately built store design. Other features include Photo Gallery Grid (which creates a nice effect for photos), and Contact Form 7 so your readers can quickly send you an email. Inside the posts, you find a “box” grid design, where containers are separated by margins, but still flow together with great fluidity.More info / Download Demo
When choosing Integral, a simple one-page theme with responsive layout, you have two options. Go for the Free versions, or straight up purchase the Pro! And the demo of Integral theme should be more than enough for you to figure out how much you like this theme. Professionals, small business owners, and agencies are amongst the leading users of Integral. The Welcome section of Integral uses a slider in the back-end, which supports image and video files. WooCommerce is only available in the Pro version and is wonderfully organize to help you sell your goods online. Theme options panel is also different for both versions. With the Integral Free package, you can customize your site through Customizer, whereas Pro provides an extended theme options dashboard. Either way, Integral is a pleasing theme with the most advanced features for WordPress themes.More info / Download Demo
Munsa Lite is a bit of a creative masterpiece, a theme flexed to the perfection for artists, writers, and photo bloggers. The ultra responsive design ensures that readers who read your articles from mobile get a fully satisfying experience. The welcoming intro is designed in the best way possible to quickly introduce readers to who you are as a writer. The background photo is overlayed with a centered information box which consists of a short intro and your best social links.
On either side of the homepage are two buttons, Menu and Info. A menu provides navigation links, whilst Info provides an even more in-depth explanation of your project. The remainder of Munsa design is put on a white background, with several featured post buttons, and blog post lists as well. Most importantly, Munsa has a few funky styling elements, such as an automated video container, image manipulator, and blockquote positioning.More info / Download Demo
Check out Briar from Slicejack — an open-source WP theme with that minimalistic touch. The author has done a brilliant work of making Briar theme, and it’s just as easy to install as it is to use in your daily blogging life. We wouldn’t recommend using Briar for magazine websites, but personal blogs… absolutely! If your audience knows you as someone who loves simple things, they will see why you chose to go ahead with Briar rather than any other theme.
Blog design manages to include a few modern functions, like a sticky bottom sidebar. In this sticky sidebar, the theme automatically displays Taxonomy information like author picture, categories, tags, and a button to jump back to the homepage. Very handy and useful, and most of all, modern! Menu is hidden behind the classic hamburger icon, ensuring that your readers can read content without being distracted. And the typography is marvelous, absolutely flows with the colors/scheme of the site.More info / Download Demo
Did you finally find a minimalist theme for you? It’s not clear if we could have made a roundup like this more diverse. And needless to mention that 30+ themes are already a big number. Sure, the WordPress theme directory includes a few more, but our preference is to mention only the best of the best. And not all themes that you can download on WordPress.org are frequently updated. Maker theme’s last update was late last year, but it hasn’t stopped 2,000+ bloggers to continue using Maker for a portfolio or otherwise a photo-blogging website.
Maker has a flexible portfolio grid that supports two, three or four-column layout. Choose the one that suits your content best. With Maker you can easily change the color of background, text, headings, and links from the Customizer. Documentation is one place you want to bookmark if you want to become an expert at using Maker for any sort of portfolio site.More info / Download Demo