The Best Free WordPress Themes Available in 2015

Posted on July 3, 2015 by in Resources | 31 comments

The Best Free WordPress Themes Available in 2015

As one of the most successful premium theme shops in the business, Elegant Themes is best known for its top of the line themes and plugins. Even on this blog, we tend to talk about how best to use those themes and plugins (or themes and plugins like them) to get the most out of WordPress. But today, I’m going to do something a little bit different. I’m going to roundup some of my personal favorite, free WordPress themes.

The Best Free WordPress Themes Available in 2015

The themes I’ve collected below are all available via the official WordPress plugin repository. I selected most of them based on a combination of their popularity, user rating, and design. Those that do not have particularly high download counts or that are relatively new and untested made the cut due to unique design and/or standout plugin compatibility.

Zerif Lite

Zerif-Lite

Zerif Lite is the free version of a beautiful one page WordPress theme by codeinwp. It’s great for businesses, web agencies, personal use, portfolios, and more. It’s responsive, built on BootStrap with parallax support, and sports a modern design.

It’s also equipped for ecommerce with WooCommerce compatibility, opening up even more possibilities. Finally, it comes with WPML, RTL, retina-ready graphics, an SEO friendly setup, and the option to upgrade to a pro version.

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Lovecraft

Lovecraft

Lovecraft is a beautiful two-column blogging theme (named, I’m assuming, after the writer H.P. Lovecraft) by Anders Noren. It features a beautiful full-width image (replaced with post/page thumbnail images when on those pages), responsive design, gorgeous typography, and much more.

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Hemingway

Hemingway

Hemingway is another great looking blogging theme by Anders Noren; who seems to be really good at creating beautiful themes for (and named after) writers. This particular theme features two-columns, responsive design, retina-ready assets, a full-width header image with parallax scrolling effect, custom accent color, custom logo upload, custom widgets, page templates, and more.

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Storefront

Storefront

Storefront is the stylish and extremely extendable free WooCommerce theme by WooThemes. It’s entire purpose is to be the ultimate free theme option for anyone using WooCommerce. It’s guranteed to always have up-to-date deep integration with the WooThemes flagship ecommerce plugin.

It comes with several layout and color options, responsive design, and a growing library of premium extensions for advanced features and functionality. A great way to start your next ecommerce project for free and scale with premium tools as needed.

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Longform

Longform

Longform is a stylish and powerful theme built for storytellers. It is the only free WordPress theme with full Aesop Story Engine compatibility. As far as I’m aware, it may be the only free WordPress theme designed for telling interactive longform stories. It also comes with responsive design, retina ready graphics, an advanced admin panel, compatibility with WPML, and more.

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Gridsby

Gridsby

Gridsby is a pinterest style gallery theme that’s perfect for photoblogging. It has responsive design, retina ready design elements, and includes an easy method for post photos to the front page gallery. It may be simple but that simplicity gives it a great look and feel that should be perfect for inspiration gathering, photo journaling, and more.

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Radcliffe

Radcliffe

We have one final theme by Anders Noren for bloggers. I honestly didn’t mean to get three themes by the same person in one post but I’m a sucker for a great blogging theme and he definitely delivers.

This theme uses large full-width images and transparent post title sections to make a big design statement with the standard post archive. The, each post is given the readers full attention with a single column layout with nice spacing and great typographic choices. It’s a pleasure to read on.

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Serene

Serene

Next up we have Serene; the first completely free theme from none other than Elegant Themes. It’s a beautiful single-column blogging theme with fully responsive design, custom colors for individual posts, and six different post formats to choose from.

Every post is easy to read with awesome typography, big header images (or not, if you don’t want them), and text spacing that is easy on the eyes. It’s a wonderful theme for sharing and consuming content.

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Twenty Fifteen

Twenty-Fifteen

I’ve always been a big fan of the next two themes on this list. I’m not a blind supporter of the default WordPress themes that come out each year, but I think at least two of the last few have stood out and will hold up over time.

In the case of Twenty Fifteen, I really like how it’s set up for writing extremely readable content (no matter what device someone is viewing it on). Its design is simple and gets out of your way both as a content creator and as a blog reader. It’s also probably one of a handful of side navigation themes that I enjoy.

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Twenty Twelve

Twenty-Twelve

I’ve always admired Twenty Twelve. I think its a highly versatile theme for a free default theme; something that can be adapted to a business website just as easily as blogging. Its responsive, comes with a front page template, its own widgets, option display font, styling for post formats on both index and single views, and an optional no-sidebar page template. With a bit of customization you can really make this theme work for you.

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DW Timeline

DW-Timeline

DW Timeline is a WordPress theme with a novel design by DesignWall. Inspired by the Facebook timeline, DW’s post archive template is designed to display post like events on a vertical timeline. This would be a particularly good theme for telling chronological stories or a blogging project with a time aspect to it–such as 100 Days of Pizza (or a similar idea).

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Pinnacle

Pinnacle

Pinnacle is a bold and versatile theme with beautiful parallax scrolling sections by Kadence Themes. It comes with a flat minimal design, fully responsive layout, and options that make it great for businesses, online stores, portfolios, or personal use. It is also fully compatible with WooCommerce.

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Arcade Basic

Arcade

Arcade Basic is a uniquely designed theme by c.bavota. It’s lightweight, fully responsive, and sporting big visuals combined with multiple post formats. You can use the customizer to add you own large header image as well as create engaging content with video, image, aside, status, audio, quote, link, and gallery formats.

To get the most out of this theme, pair it with JetPack, bbPress, BuddyPress, WPML, and WooCommerce.

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Sparkling

Sparkling

Sparkling is a clean, minimal, and responsive WordPress theme by Colorlib. Developed using Bootstrap 3 and incorporating the latest standards of HTML5 and CSS3 (with an SEO friendly structure), Sparkling is an ideal theme for a wide variety of websites; from travel, to health, to business, portfolio, personal, and more.

It comes with options to change the theme layout, colors, fonts, slider settings, and a lot more. It is multilingual ready and optimized to work with bbPress, Contact Form 7, JetPack, and other popular free and premium plugins.

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Optimizer

Optimizer

Optimizer is a multi-purpose theme by the folks over at layerthemes. It lets you customize each element without needing to touch any code: You get to choose between two site layouts (full-width or boxed); it has a beautiful image slider; easy logo upload; 600+ fonts; powerful theme options; custom CSS field; and lots of color options.

Optimizer is fully responsive–built with HTML5 and CSS3. It’s also SEO friendly, retina ready, optimized for mobile, and translation ready. It can also be easily paired with WooCommerce, bbPres, MailChimp, and Contact Form 7.

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Virtue

Virtue

Virtue by Kadence Themes is another nice multi-purpose theme. It sports a clean modern design with a powerful options panel for customization. You can adjust the home layout, sliders, custom fields, fonts, and more without touching any CSS.

Virtue is built using Bootstrap to ensure a responsive mobile friendly website. It can be used for business, portfolio, personal site, or even ecommerce when paired with WooCommerce.

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Amadeus

Amadeus

Amadeus is a simple clean blogging theme by FlyFreeMedia. It comes with fully responsive design, a parallax header image, metaslider integration, the ability to use Google Fonts, social icons, full color control, custom widgets, and more.

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Oprum

OPRUM

Oprum is a multi-purpose theme for creativity and business by DinevThemes. It can be customized easily via the live theme customizer. You can choose any colors, swap out header and background images, as well as upload a logo image, and more.

It comes ready to connect to JetPack, compatible with WooCommerce, supports post formats, and has built-in contextual help.

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Harmonic

Harmonic

Harmonic is an automattic theme aimed at anyone who wants to make a statement with their bold full-width content. It’s ideal for anyone with a lot of high-quality, powerful images. A band, travel blogger, or storytelling could easily make good use of this theme.

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Eighties

Eighties

Eighties by Justin Kopenpasah is a lovely single-column theme that can actually do more than just be a blog. For instance, it still has a sidebar and menu, but they stay hidden from site until the user clicks on one of the links in the upper corners. They then appear as stylish overlays.

You can upload a custom header image or opt to use individual featured images (from posts/pages) as the header image. Eighties also plays nice with JetPack, bbPress, and more.

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In Conclusion

I know that even though I’ve showcased twenty themes above, there are many that I’ve missed. If you have a favorite free WordPress theme you’d like to share with the community (or a recommendation based on your experience with one of the themes above) please take a few moments to share your thoughts with the whole community in the comments section below.

Article Thumbnail via venimo // shutterstock.com

31 Comments

  1. Nice collection…
    And excellent creative WordPress theme…

  2. Great collection… thank you

  3. This collection is awesome! I can imagine all the possibilities with these combined with the upcoming Divi Builder plug-in. Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

    • I was thinking the same thing too! All of these become so powerful with the divi builder.

  4. This is nice of you to post, especially since you sell themes. I’ll stick to Elegant Themes. Free themes are great if you want your website to look like everyone else’s. I prefer to buy a great product, like yours, and be both unique and cutting edge.

  5. I think thats a typo here “The themes I’ve collected below are all available via the official WordPress plugin repository….” it has to be ‘theme repository’ right?

  6. “Enlightement” Theme is missing, I think.

  7. This is a funny post because…

    87 elegant themes
    +
    Best free 2015 WP themes
    +
    Divi Builder
    =
    Wow effect for a long time.
    🙂

    • Just Divi for me 😉

    • @HyperTiti: this was my first thought, too.

      Can’t wait for Divi Builder…

      <3

      • Sure that they’ve been testing it with those themes for a while now !
        Nick and Kenny will soon show us some amazing spin-offs
        \o/

  8. What! Not a post about Divi? 🙂

  9. Nice Collection. Thank You

  10. thank you! ♥ haven’t really used a free theme in a very long time. gridsby looks interesting. didnt know et released a free theme serene, it has a foxy/nimble feel to it 😀

  11. Hi Nathan, I like your selection of themes esp the twenty twelve among others. Just to add to your list, “the intergalactic theme” it’s such a beautiful theme too…check it out here on my personal blog site http://momanyink.wordpress.com

  12. Nice collection, Hemingway and Storefront look great. At present Ferado theme at themeforest is also free for month of July. http://goo.gl/jIiI7a

  13. I would say this blog is very useful for every designer who works in WordPress .Each and every theme beautifully as well as useful . Thanks for sharing it with us

  14. Hey thanks a lot for reminding that there are some really good templates for free as well 🙂

    Generally we have the perception that if it is free then it might not be worth it.

    Nice list. Thanks.

  15. You’ve made a great selection and I definitely learned a lot through reading it.

    One suggestion though: instead of adding links to the WP repository, make those lead to the official homepage of the theme in question – they usually have better live demos than the WP repository.

  16. Nice list, desperately need some new GOOD free themes these days, the latest themes at WordPress.org repository are mostly crap even featured ones.

    Some of my favorite free themes that use often:
    GeneratePress
    Express (Yoarts)
    Flat (Yoarts)
    Hueman
    Rowling
    Rams

  17. I work with both Virtue and Pinnacle from Kadence themes and recommend them highly!

    • Thanks Debra — Virtue and Pinnacle look like really nice themes. I’m enjoying this whole list actually 🙂

  18. Thanks for sharing. You must work hard to make this wonderful list

  19. Can You tell me the name of the Theme of this website > firefall.cc

    • That is a modified version of Hueman theme.

  20. Hi, Recently we have developed free wordpress blog theme for everyone that loves simple, minimalist design. It is called “Briar” and it is built on bootstrap framework with features such as responsive layout, parallax animations etc.
    You can read more about “Briar” theme on http://slicejack.com/briar-a-free-minimalist-wordpress-theme/

    We would be grateful if you could list this theme on your blog post and help us spread a word about it.

    Thanks.

  21. Hey thanks i also searching for same best free wordpress themes. Thanks

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