7 Simple Free Wordpress Themes For Newbies

Last Update: July 01, 2019

From time to time I get a request asking which theme is "best". Well, there is no "best", but I always leave them with a recommendation to find a theme that is very simple.

  • White background
  • Black text
  • Simple menus and sidebars
  • No fancy homepage setup

There are literally thousands of themes that you can choose from, and hundreds that look almost just like these below, but with small color and menu tweaks. These are just the first ones that popped up in the feed that caught my eye, and a few I researched.

If you are frustrated that your theme has too many moving parts or things you don't know how to customize, maybe one of these is for you. BTW, Leo made a great beginner's tutorial on Wordpress themes.

ATTN: Please check when the theme was last updated. Ideally, it should have been updated within the last few months. If the theme hasn't been updated for several years, there could be security issues!

Howard Simple


  • bold, easy to read text
  • attractive link/text color contrast
  • option to customize header easily
  • no need to worry about a logo
  • Note: Not updated since 2013, possibly not mobile responsive



  • easy to read text
  • highlighted sidebar titles
  • choice of color themes
  • bold, simple branding
  • Note: Not updated since 2013, possibly not mobile responsive

Best (by Websoft Team)


  • two top menus
  • post counter for tracking progress
  • option to add header image (not required)
  • option to ouse featured images (not required)
  • Updated for 2015!



  • offers some (simple) customization options for home page
  • custom options for header image, social icons, and general layout
  • nice footer widgets
  • Updated for 2015!

Blue River


  • no frills (good!)
  • tranquiil colors, smooth graphics
  • great if you like blue! lol.
  • Updated 2014

Sark Press


  • typical menu/sidebar combination
  • option to use large featured images
  • option for logo
  • easy customize footer text and favicon
  • phone number option for local businesses!
  • Updated 2014

Caresland Lite


  • fun color!
  • cool, funky widget shapes

I will try to add more later as I discover them. I know that two of the list haven't been updated since 2013, which doesn't make them a great option, but if they work, they work! If you find one or are using one that is simple to use and looks good, feel free to recommend it below!

Color Lib Themes

(https://colorlib.com/wp/themes/ )

Plain, but simple and sharp themes. Sparkling is a good one!

Painter Theme

  • FREE Version Available


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Recent messages
Scrimley2 Premium
Themes got me stopped dead in my tracks. So many and so much time. Want a simple one for food business, BUSINESS side not Restaurants with pics of Pizza and whatever. Also confused on premium. Some say $60.00 ok for what, a year a month. Some say $16.50 a month for thousands of downloads, I only want one for now. One time price is ok. Free offers are NG. Had no issues with my site at GoDaddy. Picked Pictures put them where I wanted and bingo done. (Envato, Colorlib, ) and many more out there. My food page in GD. shows a picture of a man in a suit, behind him are three chefs 1 woman and 2 men. All standing in a commercial Kitchen. Simple and sends the message. How to do a food business. Please I need to get pointed to the right place. I've spent over 8 hours so far looking for answers. Premium is Fine very affordable if it's a one time fee. Free would be excellent, doesn't work you dump it and go on to the next.

Anyone? How about some answers. Thanks and Merry Christmas to all.
IntroVent Premium
Ok, let's start with the theme. When searching for the theme you will use, type in food on the themes page and see what comes up but I will tell you...

The themes are examples and so is what is shown on them.

Additionally, the lists of what a theme is good for is a mere suggestion.

If you see a theme you like for your site, don't worry about what they say the theme is for. You can make your site about whatever you want and make any theme adapt.

Another thing to remember is that the themes shown in demo are demonstrating the full potential of the upgraded theme. You won't be using the upgrade. At least not right away.

So when looking at the theme demos, think about where your site might go. Then go download the free version and see if it will do what you need it to do in the first place.

I wish you the best in success!
ggee Premium
I like "Newsmag" series by Macho Themes. Easy & professional looking, in my humble opinion.
CraigG1 Premium
Deeply appreciate your insight.
DLoo Premium
Don't know if it's just me just wanting to be more adventurous, but I'm trying sparkling out and while it looks nice, it just seems to be more complicated then the theme I was using earlier.

Maybe it's because I'm trying to spruce up my website and really starting to explore making my website look better.
LarryLozada Premium
Thanks Nathaniell for your recommendations. I was struggling in choosing what I thought the best theme for my niche. But now, I found the one here.
Toshmack Premium
Many thanks for you're help Nathaniell, cheers Tosh :)
Arka Premium
Have anyone checked Mimo WordPress Theme at http://graphicous.com/mimo
tuskanner Premium
Thanks for the suggestions.
nat25wealth Premium
Thank you :)
fmwaniki Premium
Thanks Nathaniell,i just have to try one of them
TechniSmart Premium
Thanks Nathaniell, bookmarked for later.
tlweaver Premium
Thanks! I've been having trouble with the theme I chose. I want sidebar, footer and header menus. I guess my theme doesn't support all 3. I'm going to try a few of your recommendations.
ShirleyWoon Premium
Thank you for this great tutorial. These has given me more ideas how I should setup my site now. Bless you Nathaniell.....
hippy Premium
I really like the free Catchbox Theme as it is simple and looks great on a smartphone. As an example here is a new site I'm creating for my wife's start up business : http://raindropremedies.com/
There are 6 colours to chose from and 3 layouts.
bj21 Premium
Thank you for the recommendation, Catchbox seems great. I will try it. Been searching for the right theme for a few days.
nathaniell Premium
Thanks for the recommendation peter.
jbitakis Premium
How do I get rid of a background image from the Catchbox theme?
EagleOne171 Premium
I love the virtue theme from kadencethemes.com. They have a free version and a paid version which has more stuff added to it. These are easy themes to work with and you can make it simple or add a bunch of stuff to them.
emilyonline Premium
I second that. I'm a total newbie, and find the theme options in virtue are the easiest for me to manipulate, and there is lots you can do with the free version.
nathaniell Premium
Thanks for the suggestion!
good points :)
JewelCarol Premium
These are free and beautiful wordpress themes for newbies, I am going to bookmark it. :)
Thanks so much Nathanielll. :)
TraceyS Premium
That was really helpful information thanks Nathaniell
la1 Premium
Thanks for the wonderful examples you provided Nathaniell
AlejandraB Premium
thanks for this information Nathaniel,
Lady May Premium
I did an article sometime ago hope this helps as well http://bloggersrefuge.com/top-free-wordpress-themes/
Christabelle Premium
I know I was looking for this kind of information a few months ago! Great post!
TommyPotter Premium
nathaniel, Thanks for this information
richard49 Premium
Thanks. I like these
Sheden3 Premium
Thanks Nathaniell, I am searching for a good theme.
kpatrice Premium
Hi Nathaniell, Twenty Fifteen is fabulous!nI like it very much, especially the one with a left rather sidebar because majority of us read from left to right.
maggie721 Premium
Thank you Nathaniell, this is very helpful!
JAZZmom41 Premium
Thank-you Nathaniell.
DawnaO Premium
I am going to check some of these out. I know they say not to keep changing themes, but sometimes certain themes just do not work with what you are trying to accomplish. Some themes may look nice, but have a lot of different options you don't need, while others lack what you are looking for. Thanks for the help
Loes Premium
My thisiskidsart theme Anjirai is super simple too, I wouldnot advice Custom Community to a starter though
Alan Hocking Premium
I'm a big fan of "Iconic One" when it comes to free themes for someone just starting out.

It's clean, responsive and very fast!
mjdimarco Premium
I'm using Iconic One as well. Very simple and clean. www.goldandsilverinvestors.org
maggie721 Premium
you have a really great site!
mjdimarco Premium
Thanks Maggie. It's coming along.
nurseannie Premium
thank you so much. have a good day AM
leoemery Premium
Great list - there are so many to choose from the one I recommend is called BlogOLife - it's a great clean theme has the WPlook Studio by wplook.com

Features are:

Full HTML5 and CSS3
Drop-down Menu
Custom Widgets
Multiple Color Schemes
Post Format
SEO Options Section
Internationalized & localization

It has the option to upgrade to the pro version -But many find there is no need to upgrade.
DLansing Premium
I chose the theme HIERO, and seems like a lot of WA members also uses the same theme. I don't mind much though because I have my own logo and cover heading to separate my brand from others.
IMc Premium
I'd add last year's default theme 'Twenty Fourteen' to the list. Especially when you add a couple of plugins that allow for a lot of enhancement & customisation. http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/7-plugins-and-child-themes-to-enhance-twentyfourteen/
nathaniell Premium
Personally, I'm not fan of the left sidebar. Is there a way to switch it to the right?

I haven't messed with any plugins though, not sure what this thing can do!