25 Sparse & Utilitarian WordPress Themes

Some of the finest WordPress themes currently available are those that offer a sparse, minimalist platform for users to present content and build customized sites. This post brings together 25 examples of brilliantly austere contemporary themes, a mixture of free and premium, available for download and ready for users to create their utilitarian WordPress niche.

1. Zalika

Zalika is a clean, minimal premium theme designed for professional corporate portfolios, with custom project and folio templates, customisable homepage, drop-down menus, threaded comments and admin panel theme options.

2. Classic Theme

Classic Theme is a very simple and accessible theme with a clean layout, eight-page template with sidebar, multiple colour scheme options, jQuery slider to display images on the homepage, blog page with custom category, portfolio and contact pages.

3. Utilitarian

Utilitarian, as the name suggests, is an austere and functional theme built to be clean and minimalist. The page layout resizes to comfortably fit the viewer’s browser window.

4. Horizontal

Horizontal is a premium theme designed on a crisp grid layout with the emphasis on simple functionality. The theme can be easily customised and integrated with the user’s Twitter account.

5. Manifest

Manifest is an extremely sparse theme based around a single-column design, 500-pixel wide layout with no sidebars, no widgets and all the focus on the textual content.

6. The Seven Five

The Seven Five is a minimalist, one-column and semiautomatic theme that enables users to integrate multiple web services such as Flickr and Twitter into a single homepage. Customisation options include theme background, font colours, border colours, and users can arrange home page sections in any order using widgets.

7. Fifty Fifth Street

Fifty Fifth Street is a straightforward greyscale theme with a nicely balanced grid system and emphasis on precise typography. The theme is great to use with its default settings, but the customisation options allow users to tailor the pages to meet their requirements working on a solidly structured ‘blank canvas’.

8. The Erudite

The Erudite is an unfussy theme aimed at writers who want to showcase text in simple, attractive format, with carefully crafted typography and great use of white space allowing text to breathe. While the white background makes texts easy to read, there is a dark theme option for a different look.

9. The Standard

The Standard is a gracefully simple theme with a jQuery slider integrated into a clean grid layout, based on designer Vladimir Carrer’s ‘Golden Grid’ system. The backend admin area allows for a great deal of user customisation.

10. Neutra

Neutra is an elegantly simple theme with a strong grid system, white background and dabs of colour to accent the typography-focussed layout. The design is aimed at showcasing content free from distractions, with easy organisation and navigation via drop-down menus, nice icons and post metadata that sits at the bottom of the page.

11. LifeStreaming White

LifeStreaming White is a brilliant minimal and clean two-column theme utilising a jQuery slider to display recent updates in a horizontally scrolling timeline. The Lifestream plug-in allows users to integrate social networking services into the homepage.

12. Clear

Clear is a sparse theme designed for writers to showcase their work in an extremely clean one-column layout. There’s plenty of white space, no clutter, and all the widgets are arranged at the bottom of the page so the viewer’s attention rests solely on the content.

13. Miniml Press

Miniml Press is an accessible, widgetized theme with three columns laid out cleanly on the ‘Golden Grid’ system.

14. Clean Home

Clean Home is a stylishly simple theme with full CSS widgetization, a right sidebar, two columns and a good deal of white space in the design.

15. Vostok

Vostok is an elegant utilitarian one-column theme, designed to showcase text, images and videos without distraction. The theme features stylish greyscale colour scheme and precision typography. A simple footer provides categories and information about the site.

16. TLight

TLight is a simple, clutter-free and functional two-column theme with a sidebar and plain grey, blue and white colour scheme.

17. Karppo Style

Karppo Style is a really minimal and utilitarian theme with a clean layout designed for print-ready content.

18. WP Framework

WP Framework is a blank theme framework on which to build a WordPress website, with all the essential features and no clutter. The theme offers a traditional template structure, clean coding and flexible customisation options.

19. aav1

aav1 is a minimal grid-style theme with a fixed-width, two-column layout in a black, green and white colour scheme, right sidebar and all the emphasis on textual content.

20. Toolbox

Toolbox is an extremely sparse HTML5 starter theme with great potential for custom development, translation-ready with language support.

21. Roughdrive

Rough Drive is a minimalist and functional theme with a widget-ready layout, gravatar-support and standards-compliant framework.

22. Minimal Guy

Minimal Guy is a pared-down, utilitarian theme with a sparse white design, unobtrusive footer and sidebar, no header, no widgets and no extra features for a purely minimal aesthetic.

23. Basal

Basal is a no-nonsense clean two-column theme with a minimal structure and no images, making it ideal for text-orientated blogging niches.

24. Simplr

Simplr is a classic utilitarian one-column theme, simply structured but with plenty of scope for customisation, perfect for writers wanting the focus to fall purely on text content.

25. Infimum

Infimum is a sparse, no-frills, two-column theme with widget-ready and gravatar-supporting structure. A simple black, white and blue colour scheme and slender right sidebar make Infimum a fine example of utilitarian WordPress themes.

Written exclusively for Orphicpixel by James Adams.

James Adams is passionate about WordPress and blogging. He is currently a full time blogger for one of the leading print cartridge suppliers in the UK where he covers developments in tech news, analyses and reviews hardware and posts about advertising and design on their blog.

Mars Cureg

Web designer by profession, photography hobbyist, T-shirt lover, design blog founder, gamer. Socially and physically awkward, lack of social skills, struggles to communicate with anyone who doesn't have a keyboard. Willing to walk to get to the promised land. Photo and video freelancer, SEO. Check out more on my Google+

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  • James

    hey, this might be little offtopic, but i am hosting my site on hostgator and they will suspend my hosting in 4days, so i would like to ask you which hosting do you use or recommend?

    • i am with bluehost

  • Reeha@printer toners

    Nice illustrations. I love these all themes. however i love simplicity and The Seven Five really impressed me with attractive simple look. great post.

  • reeha@inkjet

    Fantastic list. every theme here looks better than previous one. have to think more regarding that.