For the past week, I spent about an hour every evening after work searching the Web for reliable free WordPress themes that I could use to launch my new blog –

I set up a Pinterest board

to keep track of the best ones I could find.

In total, I installed 102 themes. Many simply didn’t meet my requirements for a blog theme in 2016, and among those that did, many performed poorly on mobile platforms.

Finding themes that were a) well designed, b) user friendly, c) elegant and stylish and d) fitting for a content curation blog was no mean feat.

In this post I want to share with you the 20 free WordPress blog themes that were potential candidates for my new site. In the end, I went with the Shamrock Theme by Meks and I will be posting an in-depth review of that theme shortly.

So if you’re looking to start a new content oriented blog and you’re on a budget, then take a look at this list of free WordPress themes.

1. Looki Lite Theme

Looki Lite Theme

Looki Lite is a simple and clean masonry style theme that comes with all the up-to-date WordPress features, including different post formats, customizable colors and settings, a changeable background image and a range of shortcodes.

Good for: a personal blog.

2. Sean WordPress Theme

Sean WordPress Theme

Sean is a clean yet bold design, allowing your articles and images to do the real talking. With a fully responsive layout, you can customise fonts and colours to add more impact to your site. The theme is based on the popular Bootstrap framework and is therefore fully optimized for mobile devices.

Good for: a personal blog or portfolio.

3. Silk Lite WordPress Theme

Silk Lite WordPress Theme

Silk Lite is a fashion oriented blog theme developed by PixelGrade. As its title indicates, this is a reduced option version of the company’s premium theme by the same name. The premium version is priced at $125, which for me is a little too high. The lite version is more than capable of powering a personal blog or simple magazine website.

Good for: a personal blog or a simple magazine.

4. The Vesta Lite WordPress Theme

4. The Vesta Lite WordPress Theme

Vesta lite is a minimal and clean, content-focused theme with an emphasis on simplicity and readability. I really like the layout of the front page, which is separated into sections, including a carousel with your latest blog posts, a personal intro section and a masonry blog area. The typography is also well thought through and it comes with some dedicated widgets too!

Good for: a personal blog or portfolio site or a simple magazine.

5. Diamond WordPress Theme

Diamond WordPress Theme

Diamond is a minimal magazine and blog theme arranged in a simple masonry layout. Single posts shift the layout to 3 columns with a sidebar either side of the main content. The theme is customizable and widgetized.

Good for: a personal blog or a simple magazine.

6. Riba Lite WordPress Theme

Riba Lite WordPress Theme

This is a beautifully designed minimal blog theme with an emphasis on strong visuals. It is fully responsive and works across browsers. It also supports translation.

Good for: a personal blog; a photography Blog; or a creative design company.

7. Atwood WordPress Theme

Atwood WordPress Theme

This is a clean and simple blog theme, built with solid coding on the Bootstrap framework. You can choose from hundreds of different fonts thanks to Google fonts support and you can also customize colors and widgets through the default WordPress customizer. This is a traditional blog theme that works right out of the box.

Good for: a personal blog or a simple company website.

8. The Journal Theme

Journal WordPress Theme

The Journal is a sophisticated free blog theme with all the bells and whistles of a premium theme. First of all, I just love the design aesthetic of this theme. It oozes class. It comes with separate homepage, blog and portfolio templates as well as dedicated “about” and “contact” pages. It also has built in shortcodes and offers a decent array of customization options from the main WordPress customizer. This is a fantastic theme!

Good for: a personal blog; a writer’s website.

9. Poris WordPress Theme

Poris WordPress Theme

Poris is a crisp and clean 2 column blog theme with a clear and simple layout. It comes with some nice add on features such as a dedicated contact page, shortcodes and several widgets. I love the simplicity of this theme and its use of grey and white colors. It was crafted by the guys over at ThemeWarriors.

Good for: a personal blog.

10. The Pencil WordPress Theme

Pencil WordPress Theme

Pencil is a clean and minimal blog theme that comes with 3 different homepage layouts, 4 post formats, 2 widget areas and supports a range of social media plugins making this an interesting prospect for a new blog.

Good for: a personal blog.

11. The AcmeBlog Theme

The AcmeBlog WordPress Theme

The AcmeBlog theme is a professional looking, SEO friendly theme with strong visuals and an overall “tech” feel. It is easy to customize and very lightweight.

Good for: a tech blog or simple magazine.

12. Sanremo WordPress Theme

The Sanremo WordPress Theme

Sanremo is a light and elegant theme with a user friendly backend system managed through WordPress Live Customizer. It comes with an awesome front page slider, and a bespoke social widget. It is built on top of the popular Bootstrap framework making it fully responsive.

Good for: a personal blog.

 13. The Lontano WordPress Theme

The Lontano WordPress Theme

Although this is the “lite” version of the theme, offering users fewer options than its premium cousin, I include Lontano because it still packs a good punch as a free theme. I particularly like the classic design and layout. It is very lightweight and fast loading and looks good on mobile devices too.

Good for: a personal blog.

14. The Scripted WordPress Theme

The Scripted WordPress Theme

This is a timely and elegant theme. I just love the simple use of white and gray and the excellent font work. The theme comes with a blog template and also supports the WooCommerce plugin making it easy to set up a simple online shop. Very cool looking theme.

Good for: a personal blog or portfolio site.

15. The Freedom WordPress Theme

The Freedom WordPress Theme

This is a minimal blog theme with an emphasis on visual images. The front page contains a nice slider an a two-column masonry layout. Single posts have a widgetized sidebar/ You can also customize the theme using the standard WordPress customiser.

Good for: a personal blog.

16. The Munchkin Maestro WordPress Theme

The Munchkin Maestro WordPress Theme

This is a clean and simple blog based on the popular Stargazer theme by Justin Tadlock. Munchkin is a traditional two-column blog with high contrasting tones that make it very easy to read. It comes with two top level navigation areas and some simple customization options.

Good for: a personal blog.

17. Kouki WordPress Theme

Kouki WordPress Theme

This is the first of three themes in this list by German web designer, Felix Dorner. Each of his themes are inspired by Japanese aesthetics and this particular theme is called “Kouki,” which means brilliance or brightness. It is the most minimally designed theme in the list, but I love how easy it is to navigate and use. It looks sleek and slender and works brilliantly on smartphones.

Good for: a personal blog or small art project.

18. The Kiyoshi WordPress Theme

The Kiyoshi WordPress Theme

Kiyoshi is the second theme by professional web designer, Felix Dorner. This theme is oriented towards designers and architects, offering a simple image and title based front page to showcase visual work. This is a very simple theme, but that doesn’t mean the design is simplistic. It is fully widgetized and the font work is brilliant. It also works well across all form factors.

Good for: a personal blog, a simple photography or architecture website.

19. The Yuuta WordPress Theme

The Yuuta WordPress Theme

Yuuta is a clean and free Word­Press theme de­signed to serve as a vi­sual di­ary. It is the third theme in this list by the German designer Felix Dorner. The theme supports all post for­mats making it ca­pa­ble of being a compelling mixed media blog. What I love the most about this theme is its airiness and beautiful font work. Amazing attention to detail.

Good for: a personal blog, a design agency website.

20. The Shamrock WordPress Theme

The Shamrock WordPress Theme

Last but by no means least is the great Shamrock WordPress theme by the awesome design team known as Meks. This is the theme I chose to use for this website. I am currently running a modified version of the theme. I chose it because it does several things very well. It is lightweight and has a solid code base that is easy to modify. It integrates all WordPress core functionality and works well with the Jetpack plugin. It is elegant and spacious and has very easy to read fonts. It comes with some bespoke widgets and it works well across all platforms and screen sizes. This, ladies and gentleman, was the right fit for me.

Good for: a personal blog.

Bonus. The Bundler WordPress Theme

The Bundler WordPress Theme

As a bonus entry in this list, I have added the Bundler theme. This is the “lite” version of a premium theme that was designed to run coupon style websites. While the free version still retains the ability to generate coupons, it has been paired down and repackaged as a blogging theme. The homepage supports the popular revolution slider plugin and content is laid out in grid form making this a light, bright and airy theme that works well for building collections of content.

Good for: a personal blog; a portfolio; a coupon site.