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21 Top WordPress Starter Themes For Any Project 2021

Hey website builders, here is our WordPress starter themes review that fits any project idea that you have.

Generally, developing a theme takes a little bit of practice.


When talking about starter themes, there are multiple ways they can help you.

  • First, through a skeleton template upon which you can build and design anything.
  • Second, by using a “starter framework.” The framework themes are more optimized for rapid development, and often use a drag-n-drop interface. This means no coding for you.

We bring you many different starter themes that you can use and reuse as much as you want.

In addition, we also included a few multipurpose themes.

Your needs = SORTED!

Best WordPress Starter Themes


Underscores has to be one of the most complete starter themes out there. It certainly helps that it is from the WordPress team itself.

Furthermore, 100s of developers contributed their own ideas to create the ultimate starter bundle. As a theme, it is intended for the purpose of learning how to build your own theme exclusively.

Countless WordPress enthusiasts used Underscores to build free and premium themes. You’re next.

The best part about “_s” is that majority of the codebase is super optimized with comments on nearly every function and call. As a result, you can quickly learn the very core concepts of WordPress theme development.

The lack of CSS in this theme means that you get extra freedom for writing your own stylesheets.

You can either download Underscores directly from GitHub or use the official website to generate a theme with your own specific name and description.

It is available with a SASS configuration as well.

More info / Download



Sage is a solid WordPress starter theme with modern features for front-end development.

The integration of Gulp (Bower), allows you to utilize the best that JavaScript offers. Furthermore, you can use BrowserSync to develop your themes for other devices with incredible precision.

The emphasis that Roots is putting on Sage is all about a fast and smooth workflow. This transitions into features like SASS stylesheets, automated JavaScript error checking, and even image optimization.

You can use a compiler like Bower to install 3rd-party packages directly into your theme’s core. The default HTML5 template of Sage is markup-optimized and ready for search engine visitors.

Sage uses Blade (from Laravel) for its templating engine. Quicker and more efficient development process.

You can pick and choose your own front-end framework to use as well. The two primary options are Bootstrap 4 and Foundation.

But, if you want a true “from scratch” experience you can pick a blank framework and style everything yourself.

More info / Download Demo



Beans is a WordPress starter framework, which boasts an active community of passionate developers.

The powerful features of this starter theme are perfect for bootstrapping WordPress sites for blogs, startups, and all-around business projects.

The best part of Beans is that it caters to beginners as much as it does to professionals. Theme development can be a scary thing, but frameworks like Beans definitely lift some of the weight from your shoulders.

Furthermore, you can always seek answers to your questions in the official documentation.

On the Beans website, you can preview multiple Beans-built websites to gain some inspiration.

There is a section called Code Snippets, which is a collection of snippets to customize your theme. Once you learn how to add one function, everything runs smoothly.

Beans is structured to be native responsive with images that adapt to screen size. A modern website must have the capacity to output content that is Google friendly.

Beans also uses only the latest Schema standards to ensure full content indexability.

More info / Download Demo



Not all starter themes are built for learning how to code. Ever since the release of plugins like WPBakery page builder, more brands are dedicating their time towards drag and drop style themes.

And Ultimatum is a great example of how you can use drag-n-drop in theme development. (Without prior coding knowledge.)

The core of Ultimatum framework is based on 4 things.

A (1) drag and drop layout builder,  (2) premium extensions, a (3) developer-friendly codebase, and (4) simple to update core. More than a 100,000+ websites are using Ultimatum.

So, why choose Ultimatum as a starter theme? First of all, it sits comfortably in your admin dashboard. Creating a new design for your website is similar to writing a new post.

You can start creating a layout by choosing overall grid size, and then add new elements as you go.

It’s the plugins system that allows you to add new content, elements, and features to your site with zero effort.

You literally don’t have to write a single line of code to build a premium quality theme.

More info / Download Demo



Themes like Underscores are based purely on simplicity, without additional frameworks or plugins. Whereas themes like JointsWP use additional frameworks to provide a unique development environment.

The framework that JointsWP is using happens to be the latest version of Foundation.

A solid and modern HTML5 development framework used to build sites like RuneScape, and even Barack Obama’s official website is using Foundation!

So, what’s in the box?

JointsWP tries to utilize as many of Foundation Framework features as possible without bloating the core.

Even though Foundation provides many useful tools, it’s still a starter theme to kick-off your creative theme idea.

At the moment, JointsWP includes features like Foundation Navigation Options, Motion-UI, custom grid templates for archives, translate-ready files, Bower (or Gulp), and much more!

Advanced developers can choose SASS as their preferred styling option, but plain CSS is in the package as well.

More info / Download Demo



Hmm, an interesting name for this starter theme. And just as we touched on the subject of starter themes incorporating front-end frameworks, too!

The UnderStrap is a project by Holger Koenemann which combines Underscores (the 1st theme on this list) and the latest Bootstrap 4 framework.

The end-result is a brilliant starting theme with modern styling capabilities. Bootstrap 4 refreshes the look and feel of modern websites, and it’s a highly rewarding experience to create from scratch using UnderStrap.

The basic structure of UnderStrap is a combination of Underscore’s dynamic PHP and JavaScript files, and the static files from Bootstrap. All CSS calls are combined into a single file and minified for best web performance.

Font Awesome integration adds 100s of amazing font icons that you can style with CSS. Furthermore, UnderStrap is compatible with Jetpack, WooCommerce, and Contact Form 7.

In short, it’s just as easy to work with as it is with Underscores, the main difference is the style.

More info / Download Demo



Gantry is yet another starter framework which prioritizes layout building versus code writing. It is the birthchild of RocketTheme, who found a simplified way of maintaining custom functions for multiple CMS platforms.

As a result, Gantry is accessible for WordPress, Joomla and Grav developers. This framework prioritizes the use of a Layout Manager.

This manager acts as the building tool for any of your future WordPress theme designs.

In addition to flexible framework features, you can transform the Gantry tool into a separate content management system based off of your existing one.

You can manage everything, similarly to how you would do if you were to write your own code. You always start off by using a skeleton theme upon which you can build your new layouts.


More info / Download Demo



The Thesis theme is around for years and continues to play a significant role in the starter theme’s market.

Coding is a valuable skill to learn that may take years to master. But a theme like Thesis can provide a more creative way for dealing with design problems.

As of recently, Thesis has transitioned its core to use an extension of Skins. The Thesis Skins are pre-designed layouts which you can modify for personal website needs.

The newest versions of Thesis Theme uses a visual template editor. (Gives you complete control!)

The second notable feature of Thesis is called Boxes. It is a method for adding sidebar content to your site, without having to sacrifice performance.

In the past, you might have relied on as many as 20 WordPress plugins for custom features. But, all those extra plugins come at a cost.

Whereas Thesis is using the Box system to provide already premade extensions and widgets for your site.

Whether it’s a subscription form, social media links, or the most trending posts on your site — adding these widgets with Thesis is native and simple.

More info / Download Demo



This time, it’s Components, a theme generator that you can use to generate a starting theme in four different categories: Magazine, Blog, Business, and Portfolio.

But if you are feeling adventurous, go for the Classic look and make something of your own. (It’s possible!)

Components is great for freelance designers who are constantly whipping up new sites in the mentioned categories.

Rather than using Underscores all the time, for simpler projects, you can generate an overall layout which is ready for styling.

Most of all, any of the mentioned designs generated by Components are fully responsive and mobile-ready.

More info / Download Demo



TemplateToaster is unique in that it’s an actual software for designing a WordPress layout.

You don’t really see too many of those around. But if working on your desktop is your thing, then TemplateToaster can alleviate some of the productivity problems you’re having.

The best features of TemplateToaster are responsive web design, cross-browser support, and a drag and drop website building interface.

TemplateToaster does include many useful capabilities.

As an example, slideshows, stock images, and image resizing are all integrated into the same user interface. So, as a result, you can add visual photos to your site instantly.

Make improvements and adjustments per your needs and build a killer theme.

More info / Download Demo



Unyson’s user base reaches more than 200,000 active installations, with a total of 1,500,000+ downloads and more than 435 active themes.

Unlike other starter theme and framework choices, Unyson is a strong product which can support the development of actual premium themes.

Yes, many WordPress premium themes are using Unyson framework as the back-end solution.

You can explore the kind of themes people are building with Unyson by going to ThemeForest.

So, why is Unyson so appealing? How did a free WordPress starter theme framework help generate millions of dollars in revenue for design companies?

It’s likely to be many things at once. A great framework needs to encompass a wide spectrum of features, customization options, and custom functionality.

And Unyson manages this requirement by using Extensions. This is the real money maker in terms of designing your theme.

Extensions includes a Page Builder, Forms, Sidebars, Sliders, Shortcodes, Blog Posts, Analytics, and so on.

More info / Download

StudioPress Genesis


The Genesis Framework from StudioPress has to be the most famous framework in the industry.

Largely because Genesis started shortly after WordPress itself was launched, and the advanced features of Genesis quickly attracted a significant and loyal customer base.

Genesis themes are very secure, optimized for search engines, and highly flexible in their design management.

Celebrities, famous bloggers, and even WordPress developers themselves use Genesis for their web projects.

The Genesis theme is an affordable solution for bloggers and businesses. (Use it safely for years to come.)

In addition to high mobility, the Genesis theme provides multiple ways to customize and manage options of your site.

For example, if you build a business website, you may want to optimize the design of your blog pages or even archives.

With Genesis, this process is so simple, you will forget how it is done on other themes.

More info / Download Demo



If you are wondering about the main difference beweent multipurpose and start themes, themes like Avada are “complete” themes, but still, manage to provide the necessary tools for customizing a design to its full capacity.

Furthermore, a theme like Avada includes 100+ unique demo websites available for instant activation, mixing and matching. You can take an element from an Agency website demo, and put it on your Yoga website.

Because of features like element management, the Avada theme is an excellent choice for those wishing to start with WordPress.

Avada uses a theme-wide responsive layout. The creators optimized everything including custom elements for mobile viewing.

To experience design mobility you will use Fusion Builder. A visual page builder for effortless design management.

The admin section of Avada is packed with custom settings panels for virtually any part of your website. Whether it’s Sliders, Pages, Headers or Posts, you can make them feel like they have been built by you.

Everything is customizable!

More info / Download Demo


exponent wordpress starter theme
Exponent is a WordPress starter theme that specifies on business intentions. There are 33 remarkable and easy to use demos at your disposal.

You can create corporate, startup, agency, mobile app, marketing and nearly any other business website.

You can also style the default appearance of Exponent further without doing too much work. Plus, choose between dark and light looks.

Moreover, Exponent contains over 60 pre-built sections, lightning-fast loading speed, easy navigability and complete typography control.

Of course, you perform all the customization tweaks with the convenient method of visual coding (read dragging and dropping).

If you would like to start a new business website, do yourself a favor and make it happen with Exponent.

More info / Download Demo


saasland wordpress starter theme
Saasland is another WordPress starter theme that focuses primarily on startups and tech companies. If you are in need of creating a modern and enticing website, avoid building one from scratch.

You have more than enough stuff at your disposal to start on the internet like a pro with 38+ demos and 250+ elements.

And once you introduce the power of Elementor page builder, you unlock yourself unlimited possibilities.

There’s more.

Saasland is responsive and flexible, so your page operates seamlessly on all devices. There is a total of 100 ready-to-use pages and 10 headers that you can mix and match.

You can expect more demos and features to come your way with new updates.

The creative and interest-triggering design of Saasland will help you capture everyone’s attention effortlessly.

More info / Download Demo

X The Theme

X Theme

X The Theme has been a frequent mention amongst our other roundup posts and collections. We first saw X The Theme mentioned in our most popular WordPress themes post (which is amazing, btw!), and later followed up by showcasing the best websites built with the X The Theme.

So, what makes X so good?

The X The Theme is here to help you achieve a design that you have imagined.

A large number of WordPress themes use WPBakery page builder as their page building solution, but X uses its own homegrown product: Cornerstone.

You can edit the design of your website without leaving the page that you are on! All the great functionality of a powerful IDE integrated directly into your browser screen!

You can edit stylesheets and watch changes that happen in real-time. Furthermore, you can take advantage of features like key bindings, to further streamline your development efficiency.

As a premium product, the X is frequently updated and well maintained.

More info / Download Demo



The Enfold theme is a clean, flexible and responsive theme which is suitable for businesses and eCommerce shops. It’s applicable for portfolios, magazines and agency websites, too!

Enfold is based on Avia Framework core, which is translation ready. The number of customers for Enfold speaks for itself, as at this time more than 230,000 people have purchased a license.

A theme can achieve the success of this level only if it happens to be exceptionally good!

The developers translated Enfold into more than 20 languages already even though translation files are provided. Rather than editing the main Enfold theme you can choose to edit child themes.

Hitting a design bottleneck isn’t going to make you wait for days to get it fixed.

We recommend Enfold for all WordPress users who wish to build their own design eventually.

More info / Download Demo



Everything within the Bridge theme is based on research, customer input, and pure development experience.

The result of which is a fine product, and a fine theme for nearly every category out there. Do you need a theme that you can use for more than one website type? That’s Bridge!

Moreover, the developers packed this theme with 580+ unique demo layouts, for blogs, for business websites, even for online stores. And each demo is extendable with customization per your own requirements.

You decide what you want to do, and then use the settings panel, or the page builder, to achieve your result.

Bridge updates automatically whenever a new version is available, so you don’t need to monitor your email for any new updates.

Most of all, it’s the ability to customize your site that makes Bridge so special. Without customization, this theme wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it is.

And because of its flexible settings panels and dashboards, we recommend it as a solid starter theme for all-level WordPress users.

More info / Download Demo



At 235,000+ customers and climbing, the BeTheme framework is just as good of a pick as any other similar theme.

You can use BeTheme to launch a website for a restaurant, a copywriting agency, or even a recipes blog! The number of premade websites is so big that we can’t list them all here.

The layout for each demo and the core of the theme itself is based on four individual grid layouts.

You can extend a layout of BeTheme with elements and features of any of its demo websites. You can pick a handful of demo designs and select only the features you like.

Then, once you have selected those features, you can create a completely unique combination of a design.

It’s small (yet big) features like universal elements that make BeTheme a perfect fit for a starting theme.

Shortcodes is another area in which BeTheme shows versatility and functionality. You can add shortcodes to any post, page, or section of your site.

More info / Download Demo


essentials wordpress theme
Essentials is a full-blown WordPress starter theme that suits multiple businesses and projects. You get a collection of over 30 demos and 660+ ready-to-use templates.

In addition to that, Essentials also operates flawlessly both with Elementor and WPBakery page builders. Using Essentials will be a little breeze, if you will.

Other cool features of Essentials are customizable width, animations, pop-ups, mega menu, header and footer builder and sticky header, to name a few.

In short, you do not need anything else other than Essentials and all the perks it comes with. Kick-start your project now and craft a powerful outcome.

More info / Download Demo


ohio wordpress theme
For all the creatives out there and agencies as well, Ohio is one hell of a WordPress theme that makes magic. If you are looking for the right tool to kick-start your online presence, make Ohio the one.

With all the very many amenities and exceptional customization capabilities, Ohio makes sure that you get the most out of it easily.

Like any other modern theme, Ohio features only the latest technologies and comes optimized for first-class performance. If you are ready to start online like a champ, you better consider Ohio.

You can easily make your dream website that will stand out from the masses.

More info / Download Demo

Alex Ivanovs

Alex is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience in design, development, and small business. His work has been featured in publications like Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, TheNextWeb, and others. You can find his personal writing at The Divine Indigo.

This Post Has 10,676 Comments

  1. Thank you!!! I’ll try something out of this!

  2. xtianmark says:

    Please also try WP Bootstrap Starter. Thank you 🙂

  3. Nice article! I’d remove Headway from this list though; the company has abandoned it’s customers, they no longer support the theme.

    1. Mark,

      Thank you for letting me know it! We’ll remove it shortly.

  4. You should also check out the WP Emerge starter theme –

    Disclosure: I am the developer.

  5. Some of these themes doesn’t feel like starter themes, some of them aren’t even close.

  6. Starkers is another good starter skeleton theme for WordPress. There are 5 versions of it.

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