Best Blank Starter WordPress Themes for Developers

By |2018-10-27T22:22:13+00:00October 30th, 2018|Blog, WordPress|0 Comments

Introduction to the Best Blank Starter WordPress Themes

Premium WordPress themes make light work of creating a professional-looking WordPress site, though there is a caveat to that: your site will look the same as the hundreds of other sites using the same theme. We’ve compiled a list of the best blank starter WordPress themes for you to simplify this process.

A trend that has been brewing in the WordPress developer community is the use of WordPress page builders and starter themes to create completely custom looking sites. Our WordPress designers have done this plenty in the past, and we’ve put together this list as a helpful reference for ourselves and for you.

What is a Starter Theme?

Starter themes are also known as base or naked themes. The blank theme is basically the starting point from where you can build your own theme. These are the pre-built frameworks which speed up the initializing process for developers. For your ease, we have hand-picked some of the best blank starter WordPress themes. Let’s take a look.

1. Underscores

Underscore Theme

First on our best blank starter WordPress themes list, this is the most popular, free, open-source template. The same guys who are behind WordPress made Underscores. The HTML and CSS markup in the theme are well maintained and follow WordPress theme standards.

The HTML templates are modern and well commented. Custom template tags exist to prevent code duplication. Sample CSS layouts and a JS based navigation are also available to start you off. Underscores is licensed under GPLv2 or later.

2. Bones

Bones Theme

Bones on our best blank starter WordPress themes list is a totally free, minimalist template using the latest web standards. This starter theme focuses on a mobile-first approach. It comes loaded with SASS and pre-loaded custom post types and dashboard functions.

Its stylesheet and other elements have an insane amount of detail. Bones provides fallbacks for old browsers and loads faster in all devices due to its minimalistic code.

3. Sage

Sage Theme

This is a starter theme with great front-end flow work to speed up your development task. Based on the HTML5 boilerplate, it has the minimal HTML5 template. The theme wrapper will help you avoid repetition.

4. UnderStrap

Understrap Theme

UnderStrap is the combination of Underscore and Bootstrap 4. You can use it as the starter or parent theme for your project. It includes some basic features like awesome font support and a built-in widget slider.

5. FoundationPress

FoundationPress Theme

Foundation Press is one of the most modern starter themes, based on the Foundation 6 CSS framework. It is responsive and uses the mobile-first framework. Its semantic has a clean markup and it is a highly professional starter theme where every element is easily customizable.

6. HTML5 Blank WordPress Theme

HTML5 Blank Theme

HTML5 Blank is another great open-source WordPress theme. This template includes both basic and advanced functions with minimal code that can be easily read and understood.

It follows both WordPress and HTML5 coding standards. It has preloaded basic functions in functions.php that will help you to ship your theme quickly. The documentation is great too.

7. Joints WP

Joints WP

JointsWP is another free blank WordPress theme that its creators built on Foundation 6. With its help, you can build complex and mobile-friendly websites without having to start from scratch.

It includes the gulp setup to save time by speeding up your workflow. In JointsWP, you can work with SASS, minify JS or watch files for change all with just a few commands.

8. WP-Flex – Blank WordPress Theme

WP Flex

WP-Flex has some unique features like sample data for unit testing. It adopts the best practices and requirements set forth by the official WordPress Codex and theme review guidelines. You can ease and speed your development work using WP-Flex.

9. Twenty Sixteen

2016 theme graphic

Twenty Sixteen, though not officially a starter theme, has often been used as a starter theme, and with good reason. Built by Automattic themselves, it can safely be assumed that this theme represents the basics of what any theme should be. And it does. Being responsive and using best practices, this theme makes for a great starter theme for nearly any custom theme project.

10. Twenty Seventeen

2017 Theme Graphic

Similar to it’s forerunner, the twenty-sixteen theme, twenty-seventeen is also coded with best practices by the organization who defines those practices, Automattic. Out of the gate, it is a bit different stylistically from the 2016 theme, and so makes for a good starter theme for those anticipating a layout that more closely resembles this theme vs 2016.



Blank WordPress themes represent a new trend in development tools to take your WordPress site to new heights in terms of originality. If you’re not a developer, we can help you out by coding a custom theme for you or you can just download our theme, Pixel Linear for free.

About the Author:

Matt is a marketer and WordPress expert. Founder of Scepter, Matt oversees the larger web dev projects for the company. Seeing innovative ideas come to life is his passion, and therefore he pushes Scepter ahead to help our customers bring their projects to life.

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