Ten amazing minimal WordPress themes


I don’t usually write this kind of post about WordPress but I’m doing it for two reasons:

Matt Forsythe asked me to.

I’m on a mission for the best theme for my dog’s blog. And it pains me greatly that I can’t settle on a theme I truly love. She’s nominated for a Canadian Weblog Award and I want her blog to be the best.

You need to know some stuff about me before you read the rest of this.

I am obsessive. I am tenacious. I will not settle until I find the solution to my problem. For these reasons I can tell you with confidence that I have scoured the web for the best minimal WordPress themes. Premium and free.

I LOVE going to a post like this and seeing a screen grab of the theme. It turns me off when folks don’t offer one.

There are many reasons for my listing below. If a theme is too complicated to use everyday then it didn’t make this list. I’m not stupid when it comes to HTML and CSS but I want an easy life. And so does my dog.

In no particular order:

Cutline themeSadie Shih Tzu is currently using this theme. Very versatile. Custom header (which matters to me) and great layout. Neoclassical by Chris Pearson is very similar and worth checking out.

Intonasi Mono – very new theme. Beautifully put together.

Early Morning – a child theme for Thematic.

Minimalista – by Bird Themes – these guys have three cute WordPress themes but this is my favourite.

Pristine – there are two versions of this theme. The other one comes with a header.

Pure II – from a brilliant theme developer who has many more themes worth looking at. This is the newest.

BASE – from another amazingly talented theme developer whose full time job is with Woo Themes. I really like this one.

WhitePress – a new theme that I found on Weblog Tools Collection.

Seven Five – I’ve been in love with this theme for a long time. An ultra minimal theme with a focus on social networks and life streams.

Koi and Vigilance tie for a place in my top 10 so I have to include them both.

There are other themes that deserve a mention:

Clean Home from MidMo which comes in two versions – free and pro.

Keep it Simple – I was using this theme on Sadie’s site until recently.

Grid Focus – another beautiful theme. It doesn’t make my top ten because it isn’t easy to use.

Modern Clix – this one didn’t make the top ten because I see it referenced constantly and it’s super popular. I wanted to offer something new with this post rather than giving you the same list of minimal themes you’ll see if you Google that search term.  However this is a great theme and is easy to use.

There are many places to look for good themes – too many to mention – but I recommend:

Theme Lab

Simple Themes

tripwire Magazine – this post lists over 90 delicious WordPress themes

GraphPaperPress has many beautiful themes which I’ve played around with. My problem is that they aren’t intuitive to use. I’m sure if you become a pro member you get more support. I feel obliged to mention them because they produce some beautiful work but it’s not for WordPress newbies.

– Of course you can also check out the long list of minimal themes on WordPress.org which includes some of the themes mentioned in this post.

– I know folks rave about Thesis. Again, I feel obliged to mention this theme because so many people love it. I’ve never used it and have heard mixed things about it. But it might be just the thing you’re after.

I warmly welcome your own suggestions about themes I haven’t mentioned here. Have you unearthed a WordPress gem? Please leave a comment below with a link to that theme.


  1. I truly have a passion for Elegant Themes. Not free but some of the most affordable paid themes I've come across. Easy to manipulate and beyond functional. I am in love with them and when they come up with a new one (all new ones are included in the one yearly fee) I find myself wondering what kind of blog I could come up with to use it!

  2. I really love Elegant Themes too. I've tried all of their themes but none was right for my dog's blog – and what a bargain at $20! Viva Themes also have some wonderful design with very good theme options. I'm using one of theirs for a client right now.

  3. Hey there – thanks so much for the info about Monokrome. I've checked out the theme before and really like it. For all the functions I want, Chris Pearson's Cutline seems to work best which is what I'm using on Sadie's blog. I've tried hundreds of other themes but always come back to that one. My biggest challenge is finding a theme that will accommodate her header – on lots of the minimal themes it would look totally out of place.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. You guys are totally on my radar for slick WordPress themes :)

  4. Mesothelioma says

    Great themes. I keep looking for cool themes for my blog.

  5. could I any one suggest that what’s the difference between a real estate theme and plugin? in order to build an real estate wite on top of WP, which is supposed to be better?

  6. A theme is the design of your site. A plugin is a piece of code that adds an enhancement to your site. They work together. One is not better than the other. You would usually use both on a WordPress site.

  7. Sathish Bala says

    good work! i was am still on the hunt for my personal blog .. bysathish.com. I am looking forward to reviewing some of your reco’s.

  8. Hey Sathish – thanks for checking out my post. Hope you find a theme that works for you.

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