7 Plugins and Child Themes To Enhance TwentyFourteen

Twenty Fourteen, the newest WordPress default theme, certainly has its fair share of detractors. We called it a flawed beauty.

Since its launch, a number of plugins and child themes have been produced which offer a range of enhancements and address some of the original themes flaws.

If you like the layout of Twenty Fourteen but would like more control of the theme’s look and feel and functionality then here’s the help you need.

Two child themes flanking the original 2014 theme
Fix Twenty Fourteen’s flaws and change the color scheme completely

3 Plugins To Help You Take Control

These plugins will help you take control of the look and feel of Twenty Fourteen and address some of its flaws.

A combination of Fourteen Extended and one of the color plugins is probably the way to go. The two color plugins here represent almost the extremes of control and so which you choose will depend on how specific you need to get.

  • Fourteen Colors

    A simple plugin that modifies the Colors option in the Themes > Customize > Colors to provides two new color pickers that can be used to control the ‘accent’ color (includes links, text sections, header search bar) and the ‘contrast’ color (includes header, sidebar, footer).

  • Styles: TwentyFourteen

    This is plugin is an extension for the Styles plugin that provides support for Twenty Fourteen.

    This adds a whole raft of new options to the Theme > Customize panel, providing the ability to customize the look and feel of virtually every element of the Twenty Fourteen theme.

    Don’t forget, this plugin requires the parent plugin, Styles, to also be installed.

  • Fourteen Extended

    The Fourteen Extended plugin addresses quite a few of the issues that I listed in my review of the Twenty Fourteen theme.

    New options are added to the Themes > Customize panel and the Featured Content section is updated, allowing fairly comprehensive modification of the theme from the WordPress Dashboard.

    • Center the layout
    • Remove the left sidebar
    • Full width for single post, archives, search results
    • Add the FitVids script
    • Select Featured Content layout style for mobile devices
    • Select post type for featured content
    • Set number of posts displayed in grid and slider
    • Set slider to auto-slide, select transition effect

    Update: This plugin is no longer available from the WordPress plugin repository. The download link now points to the GitHub mirror, but obviously there’s no guarantee of any support.

    Interested in Fourteen Extended?

4 Child Themes For Improving Semantics, Functionality And Aesthetics

These child themes take a number of different approaches to improving Twenty Fourteen. Whilst Ridizain and Sequel (both from the same developer) concentrate on the visuals, The Falcon addresses some of the functional flaws whilst  the Semantic theme focuses solely on embedding Schema.org mark-up.

  • Sequel

    The Sequel Child Theme is primarily focussed on improving the visual impact of the home page by:

    • Allowing the slider to be positioned above the sidebar / content (and thus be full-width)
    • Use a grid layout for the blog post listing.

    These modifications actually have the desired effect – the home page does look a lot better – but you’d probably want to still look to use one of the plugins for further customization.

  • The Falcon

    From WPMU DEV contributor, Josh Pollock, this contains many of the enhancements described in the Making Twenty Fourteen Super article.

    Worth a look if you want to address those flaws.

  • Ridizain

    Ridizaind is from the same developer as Sequel but adds a few more options to the Themes > Customize panel and a couple of customized versions of the Recent Posts and Ephemeral widgets.

    The home page on the demo is certainly fairly impressive.

    Again, one to combine with a color plugin and Fourteen Enhanced to fully customize the theme.

  • Semantic

    So the astute amongst you will have noticed that the image above is the default Twenty Fourteen image. That’s because this theme does all its work under the hood.

    The theme adds as much Schema.org mark-up as it can to the default theme to produce a theme to produce, in theory, a site that Google will look on more favourably.

    To find out whether that is the case will cost you either $14.95 or $29.97 depending on which deal you go for.

Seven options, then, to help improve the Twenty Fourteen theme although the more likely scenario is a combination of plugins for functional improvements and theme for the visuals.

Is it enough to make you consider using Twenty Fourteen?

Have you used Twenty Fourteen as your WordPress site’s theme? Did you use it as is or have you installed a child theme or plugin?