10 Fugly WordPress Themes You Will Never Want To Use

The WordPress community is filled with talented designers and developers who create stunning themes. Theme stores are popping up all over the place selling impressive designs.

But for every beautiful theme there is a truly fugly one waiting for some poor unsuspecting soul to download and activate it on their WordPress site.

I scoured the internet to put together this collection of some of the worst WordPress themes. There are some real shockers out there, but it just goes to show how far web design has come since WordPress was conceived and how high expectations are now for theme creators.

Check out the list and let us know if you’ve come across any fugly themes that didn’t make it into the list.

P.S. This isn’t supposed to be a serious article – it’s a Friday Funny. Apologies if you designed any of these sites. But hey, maybe you’ll get some downloads :)

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1. Jakobian


Let’s ease into the list with this cracker. It is described by its designer as “A hideously ugly, barely usable theme inspired by (infamous web usability consultant) Jakob Nielsen.” Apparently the theme is based on an older version of Nielsen’s website.

The colors don’t work at all – the soft yellow and blue backgrounds are the same color as the fading onesies my little brother wore when he was a baby back in the late 1980s.

Jakobian WordPress theme

2. Rounded Blue


A boring name for a boring looking theme. “A simple layout with one column for posts and two columns for widgets at the bottom,” according to the designer.

A fantastic theme if you want to take your website back to circa 1999.

Rounded Blue WordPress theme

3. A


Another boring design, this time in 50 shades of green. Much like EL James’ book, Fifty Shades of Grey, this theme lacks class.

A WordPress theme

4. Winter


Geocities anyone? According to the designer, “In the winter sunshine, glittering snowflakes, they are lovely and comforting.” This theme is anything but comforting. The repetitive background hurts my eyeballs and I can almost smell the cheese wafting from the snow in the sidebar.

All it needs is a scrolling marquee to complete the look.

Winter WordPress theme

5. Shelter


I haven’t seen wood panelling this ugly since I designed my first house in Sims in 2000.

The designer describes the theme as having a “richly toned wood floor background with bare-earth colored widgetized sidebar and footer… A strong theme to begin with; grow into; and, build on.”

How would you build onto this theme? I’d grow into it with an image of a moose head and an animated GIF of a roaring fire.

Shelter WordPress theme

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6. Nature


“A great, simple theme that gives out a very natural and refreshing vibe. You can just smell the trees!” according to the designer.

I can’t smell the one little tree on the page… my nose can’t get past the poo-colored background or the green headers. It really is ugly.

Nature WordPress theme

7. Medieval


Okay, so this theme hasn’t been updated in two years. Still, this Geocities-inspired design wasn’t exactly trendy two years ago. The border looks like the carpet my grandmother had in her house in the 1970s.

Medieval WordPress theme

8. BlankSlate


When I installed and activated this theme I thought it hadn’t loaded properly so I hit refresh. Nope, it really is supposed to look like an error occurred and it’s missing CSS.

BlankSlate WordPress theme

9. Heavy


This theme is also shades of wrong, despite the designer’s assurance that it is “very professional and very free” and is a “beautiful modern theme.”

I can understand the metal floor background, given the name of the theme, but the pink header background and links don’t make sense at all. Then there’s the butterflies and the hummingbird, which look absolutely ridiculous and out of place in the header. It’s like the designer got distracted after setting the background image.

Heavy WordPress theme

10. Edublogs


And last but not least, one of our own designs… the Edublogs theme.

Download it and take your site back in time seven years!

Edublogs Homepage


Comments (17)

  1. Why would you even bother to show these? ;)
    These so called themes made in Artisteer are done by whatever you want to call it, but definitely NO designers!

    Even tough you manage to hit a nail with hammer twice in 10 strikes, doesn’t you are carpenter! (I hope this joke doesn’t got lost in translation)…

  2. Hi ya, yeah agree with most of these, blank slate is meant to be a blank theme that you can build from the ground up

    I used to give this theme to some of my staff to build a theme from.

    So essentially it’s not a bad theme but a great theme In my eyes for learning theme development

    • Agreed…no need hate on blank slate, I made a few pretty slick looking sites using it as a bare bones template prior to some of the newer frameworks that have emerged since.

      Entertaining post, though, definitely served as a nice distraction from a long day of staring at media queries and php functions. :)

  3. I would love to have a “blacklist” of wordpress themes and plugins.
    Will save a lot of time.
    The hard part is to generate a criteria for entering the list.
    For example, a plugin that is not updated over 2 years…

    Is there such a blacklist?

  4. Hello, creator of BlankSlate here (I guess none of the other theme designers felt like joining the party haha – better late than never I suppose).

    I actually enjoyed this article and had a few laughs.

    As a theme reviewer myself I have seen more painfully ugly themes than this list could ever begin to scratch the surface of. Themes that make you question not only the taste of the person who designed it, but their very sanity :P.

    However, as other readers have also pointed out, BlankSlate isn’t appropriate for such a list. BlankSlate is a boilerplate and is actually very popular among theme designers and developers and highly regarded, rated and praised as a quality theme for its purpose.

    That being said, since a lot of the themes being submitted to the official WordPress directory are in fact built on BlankSlate, themes both beautiful and fugly…

    …in a way I guess I really can take some of the blame for helping fugly themes get approved, based on helping them with guidelines-passing code in a review process that on the other hand, doesn’t also involve a subjective review of the way the theme looks itself, allowing all sorts of eye-bleed-inducing themes to pass ;). We’re not ThemeForest after all, we must love all our children.

    All kidding aside, calling BlankSlate ugly, is like calling a skeleton fat, it just isn’t even a criteria in which even applies to the merit of something’s purpose or quality in the first place. If you want to knock the choice of its unformatted code however, that’s cool (everyone else does), but that’s an entirely different list ;).

    But hey, 9 out of 10 isn’t bad, you appear to be a social media writer, not a developer, so I won’t fault you too harshly for such a trivial geeky oversight like this (fixes glasses).

    All in good fun, here’s one of my ugliest creations that I ever unleashed on poor eyes that never did anything wrong to me:


    Thanks, Bryan

    • Hey Bryan, thanks for your good-natured reply :)

      You raise good points worth bringing up in these comments. Hopefully other people will scroll down to see them.

      I see what you mean about creating a boilerplate… :) Have you got any beautiful themes that have been developed using it? I’d love to check them out.

      • “Hopefully other people will scroll down to see them.”

        What are we, in the age of print? Edit > Redact > Update > Complete. Sorry… sorry… I’m just teasing, had to. In all sincerity I wouldn’t want you to regardless of policy (if there is one?), I think it’s pretty funny I made this list, just strange I didn’t see your article for so long.

        Actually, I make it a point to NOT design “beautiful” themes (and here’s why: http://bryanhadaway.com/the-problem-with-beautiful-wordpress-themes/ – now, there’s another out-dated article you have me updating ;)).

        All of my projects are designed with an emphasis on maximum usefulness, and that generally means a minimalist style. I try to get out of the way of my users and let them do their thing.

        All of my websites and themes are built on BlankSlate actually. The most style-heavy example theme I’ve designed that’s built on BlankSlate would be Startup (https://startupwp.com/demo/), which most would still consider a very plain Jane theme, and rightfully and intentionally so.

        Thanks again for a good laugh and polite discussion.