Nowadays we are bombarded by tons of information, so it seems like less is always more. From capsule wardrobes to Marie Kondo, people are embracing the pared-down life. You may want to bring some of this stylish simplicity to your website, but that doesn’t mean you have to blend in to a sea of sameness.
No matter what you’re using your website to do, the right theme can be extremely valuable in striking the perfect balance between minimal and expressive. There are plenty of options to choose from, and a lot of them are even free.
During your search, you’ll want to be on the lookout for beautiful typography, creative layouts, and page builders that make it easy to keep your site’s structure organized. You’ll also want to avoid too many extra features that you won’t need, which may only bog your website down.
In this roundup, we’ll have a look at 11 simple and free themes that still have a lot to offer. Let’s get started!
When it comes to food blogging, a clean and simple theme can help keep the focus on your cuisine. Kale’s features showcase your dishes without distracting from them.
If your goal is to conquer social media with your recipes, Kale has a lot to offer. This theme includes easy-to-set-up social media menus, as well as responsive YouTube videos. In addition, Kale is translation ready, so you’ll be prepared to become a home chef of international renown.
Kale also gives you a lot of options for designing your layout. You can choose from two sizes of sidebars, or go with a full-width layout to maximize space. The mixed format blog feed layout can add some visual interest, while maintaining your site’s tidy look.
Elara is a graceful, feminine theme that could also be used for a food blog. However, it would make for a beautiful fashion website as well. This theme provides lots of features that enable you to add images without sacrificing your minimalist aesthetic.
There aren’t a lot of themes designed for photos taken in portrait mode. If you’re someone who prefers taller images on your website, you’ll likely love that Elara can accommodate them.
Elara’s home page can include a banner or slider, whichever you prefer. You can use this section to highlight posts that you want to draw attention to. If you’d like to preserve more white space on your home page, however, you can remove this feature altogether.
If you’re building a business website, WordPress’ own Twenty Seventeen could be right for the job. This professional-looking theme keeps things simple, while still giving you plenty of opportunities to express your personality.
Twenty Seventeen’s ample header space, which by default uses the full height of the screen, could be the perfect spot for a video to welcome your visitors. Once you add your logo and customize the default colors, you’re sure to make an impression on users without overwhelming them.
You’ll also be glad to know that Twenty Seventeen is accessibility-ready. This means it follows some minimum requirements when it comes to media, navigation, and contrast. These considerations can help ensure that anyone can access your content.
Next on our list, OnePress is a design-focused theme. Its features make it a sound choice for any freelancer looking to set up an online portfolio. If you’re a photographer or videographer in particular, you’ll probably find a lot to like about OnePress.
This one-page theme is simple yet exciting. The built-in parallax effect is a stylish way to break up sections of content. It’s also an excellent chance to showcase some of your favorite photography.
On the other hand, if you prefer a more traditional method of displaying your work, OnePress’ gallery still offers plenty of variety. You can choose from a grid, slider, carousel, or masonry layout to complement your photos or videos.
Bard could be an ideal fit for a multi-author travel blog. With fast performance and coding that takes SEO best practices into account, this free theme offers premium-level quality.
If you’re concerned about the prospect of designing a website, you might be happy to know that Bard works with some of the most popular page builders. You can use Elementor, Divi, Beaver Builder, and more alongside this theme. Any of these drag-and-drop solutions can help with getting your design just right.
What’s more, Bard’s promo boxes enable you to display up to three featured page links or ads. This built-in ad space is something you may want to take advantage of if you plan to monetize your site.
If you want an organized-looking website, you may find what you’re searching for in Mik. This masonry-style blog theme is dynamic, without becoming overwhelming.
Mik offers a boxed layout, but you may want to opt for the ‘wide’ option if you plan to feature high-quality photography. This style, when combined with the included masonry format, creates an inviting environment for your users to scroll through.
It’s also important to remember that a strong Call to Action (CTA) is an essential part of any website. Mik enables you to place a full-width CTA section on your home page, which you can use to direct visitors to your contact or sign-up pages.
Cenote may interest you if you want to get your website built quickly, without sacrificing quality. Especially considering its quick-and-easy setup process, this theme has a lot to offer.
The free version of Cenote comes with three demos. In addition to the standard layout, you’ll find styles designed for fashion and tech blogs. These demos are easy to add to your site, thanks to the included ThemeGrill Demo Importer plugin.
Cenote also boasts many post formats, including audio, video, and even quote posts. Each of these is thoughtfully designed, and adds to the overall balanced look of the theme.
Next up, Vilva is an airy, light-feeling theme that could make any lifestyle blogger very happy. With demos included for both the fashion and travel niches, there’s a lot to explore in this simple package.
If you’re a lifestyle blogger, chances are you take a lot of photos. Vilva’s Instagram section enables you to neatly embed your feed onto your home page. There’s even a widget for your newsletter sign-up form, which also fits nicely in the sidebar.
Vilva’s image-based categories widget is an especially useful touch. You may prefer it to a typical blog category list, since the thumbnails look neater and less cluttered than text.
Magazine-style blogs are a lot of fun, but can sometimes feel chaotic. Blog Diary captures the spirit of the niche, while still managing to stay elegant and orderly.
This is partly due to how the theme organizes posts. You can add separate sections for your latest and must-read articles. Blog Diary can then display these posts in a single- or multiple-column format. This layout lends itself well to keeping frequently-updated content neat.
Blog Diary’s typography also adds to the overall tidy aesthetic. If you prefer a different look, however, multiple Google Fonts are supported (and customizable).
If you are setting up a website for your business, you may want to have a look at HoneyPress. This SEO and performance-optimized theme provides some excellent tools for creating an informative, professional website.
You’ll likely want to advertise the services you offer. HoneyPress has space on the home page for you to promote your business and let visitors know what you can do for them. This theme also enables you to display testimonials from your satisfied customers. Both of these sections are fully customizable.
HoneyPress has plenty of detailed documentation to help get you up and running. You’ll even have access to a support forum if you need further assistance.
Like HoneyPress, Intuitive is well-suited for a business website. This theme pulls off a corporate vibe, while remaining stylish and trendy.
If you give this theme a try, you’ll find that you have a lot of control over its featured page slider. You can choose to include columns of content or images. You’ll even be able to determine how long the content is displayed for.
This theme also provides a way to show off your most important pages as ‘hero’ content. You can highlight your about page, portfolio, or any other page you like.
Since simple styles are a popular trend for websites right now, there are plenty of themes available to help you achieve that look. The key is selecting a theme that gives you this aesthetic, without making your website look exactly like everyone else’s.
Any of the themes we’ve looked at can help you design a minimal yet unique site. For instance, Cenote is ideal for getting started fast, due to its one-click demo import. If you want a theme that can handle plenty of content while still maintaining a graceful style, you might want to check out Elara.
Which features are most important to you in a minimalist theme? Tell us about them in the comments section below!