Sometimes, simpler is better. And I think this applies doubly to websites. In fact, choosing simple WordPress themes over complex ones can result in a streamlined, minimal site that offers a clean look and intuitive navigational experience. With plenty of whitespace, simple themes make it easier for your visitors to figure out where to look and what to do once they land on your site. I mean, your call-to-action is going to stand out a lot more if there’s less clutter obscuring the view, right?
This collection of stunning simple WordPress themes should help you find a solid choice for your next site.
Studio 8 is a versatile and well rounded theme, while still maintaining an overall design of streamlining and simplicity. The installation process is quick and easy, and with features like drop-down menus and sliders handling most of the navigation, it makes your site easy to use as well. It does make use of video backgrounds and animations, but they’re mostly few and subtle, enhancing the aesthetics without detracting from the minimal design.
The theme has custom post types and widgetized areas, custom backgrounds and header images, and a user friendly options panel to help you tweak your site further. It makes use of shortcodes and microformats, and includes several of the coding files, as well as having cleanly laid out and commented code, making any coding work you might need to do as easy as possible. And once you’ve got your site built, you can make it easily accessible to anyone, using the combination of responsive layout, cross-browser compatibility, and multilingual capability. There’s a variety of pricing options, starting at $99 for one year of support. Studio 8 is a great looking and well laid out theme that strikes an excellent balance between versatile function and simplicity.
Pure & Simple
Pure & Simple is as the name implies: a blogging theme made for users who want a nice, clean design for their website. The theme of this theme is to maintain a simple design while still providing a ton of features, and it delivers. With multiple page templates and blog layouts to choose from, several post formats, and the built-in WordPress Customizer makes customization easy. It’s also compatible with Jetpack, which adds a plethora of features.
As for the style of the theme, it’s very professional and simplistic. It’s made mostly up of a tasteful amount of white space, interlaid with blog posts. Adding images to the blog posts is a great way to add some pep to the site, but you can stick to text if you’d like a more minimalistic style. This is a great site for artist or nature bloggers as the main highlight of the homepage is the big image that greets you, so providing the perfect picture will add a lot of character to the site. Basically, Pure & Simple is a very simplistic but beautiful theme that requires just a bit of imagination to realize its full potential. Plus, it’s free, so there’s nothing to lose by giving it a test run.
Spectively – Elegant & Simple WordPress Blog Theme
Spectively has a variety of design goals: clean, elegant, simple, modern; but it pulls them all together in a cohesive and beautiful way. It’s a blog theme, and so comes with all of the page and post layouts and post navigation features you’d expect.
More specifically, it includes 4 homepage styles, 2 header styles, 2 single post styles, different multi blog and sidebar layouts, and built-in formats for standard, gallery, link, quote, audio and video posts. It has popular, recent, and related post sections, as well as easy navigation button at the bottom of each post to quickly get to the next or previous article. There’s built-in share buttons too, for a variety of social media sites, making it that much easier for your work to get around. Overall Spectively is a well designed and easy to navigate blog theme with a kind of beautiful, elegant simplicity to it. And it’s only $49.
Mellow WordPress Theme
Mellow is a $58 portfolio theme that has a simple and upfront design, putting your work right to the forefront with no distractions at all. The main page features the filterable portfolio as the main focus, with a scrollable slider for blog post below it, getting your visitors straight to your content in a very streamlined way.
There’s seperate page for the portfolio and blog as well, reached through the theme’s hamburger style menu, displaying your full range of content in each. The theme comes with two different styles for the portfolio, grid and masonry, along with a theme customizer, Google web fonts, custom widgets, and a logo upload to round out the customization. One of the main focuses visually is the images, each of the portfolio and blog entries on the homepage being displayed by a large picture. There’s video support too, giving you further options in your portfolio. All of this, along with the theme’s responsive design, make Mellow a great content focused portfolio and blog theme.
eClassy – eCommerce Classy Pro WordPress Theme
Though probably the most complicated on this list, eClassy’s sleek and simple design deserves praise. A classy eCommerce theme intended for selling luxury products such as watches or jewelry, it can also be used by any shop owner simply seeking a stylish design full of beautiful animations. The theme eye-grabbing, to say the least: One homepage contains a screen-sized banner with pretty animations and large text, while the other focuses on the products themselves. From there, scrolling down followed by a sticky header, a variety of categories exist: Highlights, latest products, testimonials, blog, and more. But the gargantuan product images are the main feature of each page, and entice users to buy.
As far as options go, you can customize the fonts and color themes easily, or perhaps utilize the wishlist addon or layer slider plugin. With 8 shop pages to choose from, and about/contact pages to fill out, the variety never ends. Plus, it is of course compatible with mobile, so customers can easily access the site from anywhere. Though it may not be the most simplistic or light theme of all, for $59, eClassy has an elegant and clean style that would suit many people looking for a theme that is simply “classy”.
The Breaking News – Responsive WordPress Theme
The Breaking News is a $59 minimal news theme that makes use of whitespace to keep the theme clean and easy to read instead of cluttered or complicated. It has several useful tools for arranging and displaying your articles, and its theme customizer makes it easy to set up and use.
There’s multiple different layouts and templates built-in for various areas of your site, and with the responsive design it’ll all look great on any device. The list of navigation tools is rather extensive, with featured content, and editor’s choice section, related articles, recent posts and comments, and suggested articles. There’s share buttons and social media icons to help get your news shared around quickly, and ad ready features to help you monetize your traffic easily. If you want your news site to have a simple and clean look and a theme that’s easy to work with, The Breaking News makes a great choice.
Simple is a free theme based around, well, simplicity. What the title might not tell you, is that this is primarily an ecommerce theme, specifically one based around using Shopify. Although with the blog and customization features available, it can be used for a wider variety of things as well.
The theme comes with a drag and drop page builder, which along with shortcodes and the customization panel make it easy to create exactly the site you want. You can easily import the demo setup as well, giving you a strong base built for you if you’d prefer. This theme in particular does a lot with the headers; besides the standard custom header images, it also gives you the ability to overlay the image with any color you want, which with the option to make separate headers for each page can really help differentiate areas of your site. You have transparent and sticky header options as well, making the background visible through it and making it follow as you scroll down the page. The theme works with Woocommerce as well, opening up even more options. Simple provides a surprisingly large variety of options for a theme built around simplicity, making it an excellent choice.
Profile is a theme about the owner of the site; whether that be in the form of a resume, portfolio, or simply a social media hub. Appearance wise the theme is overall fairly simple, featuring a background image and avatar as the main image, with a header above to navigate the site and room for your various social media icons, an about profile, and recent work below as needed.
It comes with templates for a portfolio and a slideshow page, custom page templates, and shortcodes to help build your site, all put together in a responsive framework. The header and menus can be customized, as well as the colors, fonts, and various other aspects using the options panel. There’s a ton of social media buttons included, and space for as many as you could need, and you have the option of having a twitter feed built right into the homepage. It comes with WooCommerce support if there’s any products you have to sell, too. Coming in at a price of $69 a year, Profile makes a great theme for any kind of site revolving around you.
Natural Lite is a free theme that has a minimal design, with an organic vibe to it. The theme customizer makes setting up your site a breeze too, getting you up and running in no time.
The theme customizer gives you several options as well, letting you tweak various aspects of your site. There’s custom backgrounds, headers, menus, and page templates, as well as Google fonts. You have the option of using multiple sidebars, opening up extra design possibilities. You can feature certain articles and pictures as well, which really grab attention with the minimal design keeping everything else out of the way. It’s responsive too, so it’ll work on the go. Natural is a really beautiful theme, with enough customization available to make it your own. If you want a natural feel to your site, it makes a great choice.
Atlas is a $49 minimal theme with a simple yet unique design; there’s two scrolling areas, the one on the left showing all of the navigation options, and the right area showing the content selected on the left. This keeps the navigation out of the way, while making it easily accessible at the same time.
The theme customizer comes with a large list of options for colors, various text areas, backgrounds and more. There’s an image focus in this theme, and it comes with several options to match. The images stay in their original proportions, and the text excerpts intuitively fit, following taller images as you scroll. You can also make the images overhang, making them larger than the text area to help them stand out. There’s subheadings on your posts too, useful if you need a slightly longer description. The social media menu can help your followers stay connected and share your work, and the responsive design with make sure they can reach your site from anywhere. Overall Atlas makes a great theme for image galleries, blogs, or pretty much any creative site you can think of.
Paper – Creative Portfolio Theme
Paper is a simple and minimal portfolio theme for $44, designed to look professional. The design keeps all of the focus on your content, putting it all upfront with a simple navigation window to the left. It comes with an extremely powerful visual customizer that gives you fine control of every site element, offering near limitless possibilities.
There’s templates for contact pages, blog post, and a portfolio, which the theme supports more than one of. The posts themselves can be gallery, image, video, or audio posts, giving you good degree of options. There’s 10 shortcodes for a variety of buttons and widgets, unlimited sidebars, several custom widgets, and a long list of social media icons to make sharing easy. Paper offers you a lot of built-in visual options as well, including 3 base color pallets with unlimited colors to use, over 600 Google fonts, 300 background patterns, and 50+ animations that help enhance the overall feel of the site as you navigate around it. The theme is fully responsive and loads quickly too, so the user experience is always great on any device. Overall Paper is a stunningly beautiful and simple theme that really gives you the best of both worlds.
Minions – Minimal Ajax Blog Theme
Minion is a highly minimal blogging theme for $39. It makes significant use of whitespace, even more so than a lot of other minimal themes, which gives it a nice kind of soft look. It’s highly responsive as well, even being specifically optimized for mobile viewing.
There’s a number of customization options provided, with a powerful options panel, unlimited sidebars, and 660+ Google fonts with advanced typography options. There’s a sticky header that follows as you scroll down the page, which can be hidden out of the way when not in use. It comes with a lot of post formats too, with standard, image, link, audio, video, and quote types. All of these posts can be sorted into various categories from theme, which are easily navigated to through the subtly animated header bar. There might be less to it than some other popular themes, but sometimes less can be more, and that’s something Minion does extremely well.
Camera is a heavily image based theme great for photography portfolios or photo blogs. It has a minimal and distraction free design, keeping all of the focus on your images. Which is where this theme excels. All of your images are displayed in large, beautiful detail, and the theme comes with a large list of options for exactly how you want to arrange and display them.
Camera supports featured images and galleries in carousel, thumbnail, and mosaic tiled formats. The carousels are particularly cool, allowing you to post individual image collections, which show up as post with several features images you can scroll between. The theme is responsive, so your site will look just as great on mobile. The theme options panel gives you even more control and customization, which was carefully designed to give you all the best and more useful options, without cluttering the panel with ones you probably won’t use anyway. All of this for just $49, Camera makes an excellent and beautiful photo-based theme, which if mixed with a bit of creativity and quality images, can truly shine its brightest.
Bloom | Responsive Wedding Theme
Bloom is a $49 wedding theme that elegantly joins simplicity with beauty. It has a great list of features for weddings, and a good bit of customizability too, all built on a responsive framework. There’s step-by-step video instructions on installation, so getting your site started is a piece of cake.
There’s a large image right when you load the site with basic information about who’s getting married, the date, and location. There’s profiles for everyone who’s part of the wedding, which link to individualized pages. There’s also features for a countdown and a full schedule of the events, and Google map support to show exact location for each part of the wedding. The RSVPs are powered by Contact Form 7, making it easy for everyone to get their seats. There’s also blog functionality, with built in templates for a couple blog layouts and multiple post types. Overall Bloom is a functional theme with all the features you need for a wedding, and a beautiful aesthetic suiting your special day.
Single Page WordPress Theme
Single Page is a one page theme built off of Angular.JS, allowing all of the content to load with no page transitions of refreshes needed. Despite all being on one page, each blog post and portfolio entry load with unique URLs, so you can still have full SEO for each one. It’s flexible as well, allowing you make changes in real time with the Theme Customizer.
It has a sliding header bar to show multiple posts or other important information on, and buttons at the top that quickly navigate you to various areas down below. The blog posts and portfolio items expand when you click on them, giving you the full post and easy previous and next button to quickly navigate between them. There’s all the widgets and tools you need to set up a team area too, giving information about the people you work with and providing separate links to each person social media. There’s widgets for far more than just that however, giving you a rather long list of possible features through the themes widgetized areas and custom widget features. The whole design looks great and loads quickly, and on any device too with its responsive layout. Single Page can be purchaced as part of ThemeFurnace’s complete theme bundle for just $49, and it has enough features and funtionality to be worth it all on its own.
If there’s one thing you can say about Vanilla, it’s that it’s very flexible. Not so much so in design, though it does have a good degree of customization, such as a built-in Theme Options panel to help make it easy to create the website, or the blog and portfolio pages. Where its variability shines is in its implementation: It’s a very open-ended theme that can be used by a variety of people. Bloggers, project creators, artists, or even as a simple company website; with enough imagination, almost anyone can put it to use.
Vanilla presents itself with a grayscale style, as in white backgrounds, black text, and colourless images. Of course colourful images can be used instead, but it is a charming style to keep in mind. Along with this it makes use of a great amount of white space and simple animations, adding to the delicate feel. Though it requires Genesis on top of the $49 fee, it is a great investment for just about anyone who needs a flexible, simple theme.
OneCart WordPress Theme
OneCart is a simplistic eCommerce theme meant to work with WooCommerce. With their interests in mind, the theme is designed to attract and keep customers. It’s made intentionally simple and easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile, so potential customers will not be turned off by a site layout that’s too difficult to get the hang of. Plus, it’s easy to customize with the real-time Theme Customizer and a variety of widgets. And it’s packed with useful features such as the drop-down shopping cart, a news section, advertising space, and areas for featured and latest products, but this doesn’t degrade from OneCart’s ease of use and simple design.
Visitors will be entranced by the big banner right in the middle of the screen, along with the efficiency of the site’s layout as they scroll down to view products. The contrast of white and grey backgrounds with darker text and colourful buttons draws the eye. All in all, it manages to be aesthetic while still retaining an aura of simplicity. For a $49 bundle, OneCart is great for people wishing to sell their goods in the most effective and clean way.
Life – Simple WordPress Blog Theme
Perhaps the most elegant blogging theme on this list, Life is a beautiful and simple $44 theme. It has a high degree of customization while still retaining its simplicity. For instance, it comes with Customizer, allowing easy changing of basic features such as color and fonts. 7 widgetized areas allow just as many widgets as you need, and you can customize everything down to the title and tagline, navigation bar, and the built-in Instagram widget.
The theme’s design focus is on white space with emphasis on eye-catching images. An elegant scrolling bar of recent posts is the first thing you see, and scrolling down, posts are cleanly arranged next to a sticky sidebar. A full width version is also included, however, along with a few other homepage styles, and all of them retain the same style. Below the posts is room for widgets such as an Instagram feed, a footer, and more. Finally, here’s a subtle animation when hovering over images and buttons, which really ties the theme together. A very tasteful, subtle, and clean theme, Life is a great theme for aspiring bloggers.
Fixy: A Simple & Sexy WordPress Theme
Bringing a unique design to the table, Fixy is a $44 theme with a distinctive, in-your-face style. Upon visiting the site, immediately you are thrown right into the content. With large, eye-catching images, and a sidebar on the left where you can place info such as site navigation or social media buttons, Fixy is certainly a straight-to-the-point theme. A few animations, such as when hovering over buttons or browsing galleries, don’t take away from its simplistic feel. It’s definitely a great theme for bloggers or even news websites, with a bit of imagination.
Fixy’s simplicity may not extend to its feature list, but the variety of options definitely help in customization. It contains 10+ post formats so having whatever type of post you’d like is possible. It also contains fonts from Google, Typekit, and Adobe Web, and support for plugins such as Jetpack and Contact Form 7. Luckily, the theme is easy to customize with the WordPress Theme Customizer it comes with. Direct, simple, and flexible, Fixy is a wonderful choice for those who value themes that showcase their content boldly.
Bamboo – A Simple, Elegant WordPress Blog Theme
Bamboo, a clean and flexible $44 theme, is great for bloggers looking for something that isn’t too complicated in design or use. It’s easy enough to put together, as the built-in WordPress Customizer allows easy editing of the theme. Plus, it has support for a wide variety of widgets for the sidebar, such as an Instagram gallery, latest tweets and posts, an about me section, and much more, so your site can have exactly as much content as you’d like. With five different post types, it’s easy to have the blog you’d like without too much hassle when making a post.
As for the look of the theme, it has a very elegant, minimalistic feel. Viewers are greeted simply by a sidebar on the left with essential site information and widgets, and with the posts on the right, so visitors can get right into the content. There are 5 different homepage styles focusing on the placement of the blog posts, allowing some variety without being too complex. Overall, there aren’t too many distracting pages or buttons and it has a clean look to it, so it’s a perfect fit for content-focused bloggers who need a theme that’s easy to design.
Featured image by Breather / Unsplash