Infinite Theme Styles with Custom CSS

There are 100+ themes to choose from here at WordPress.com, and many of them have customizable backgrounds, menus, content layouts, and headers you can change yourself (like our new default theme Twenty Ten), and we have many more new themes planned.

But you can also take your site’s customization a step further and completely personalize any theme’s stylesheet by changing fonts, colors, borders, backgrounds, and even the layout of the site using the Custom CSS upgrade.

Many users have made a beautiful home for their content using one of our 100+ themes as a base and customizing the site with the Custom CSS upgrade.

If you’re not sure where to get started with CSS (it does take a little experience with HTML, and a willingness to learn), make sure you check out the CSS Help links in the Custom CSS Upgrade Support page, which has some links to to tutorials and explanations around the web. If you have a friend who’s good with CSS, this might be a good time to buy them a pizza and ask for a lesson!

As with all WordPress.com upgrades (except for domain registration), you can purchase the Custom CSS Upgrade and cancel free within 30 days if it’s not to your liking.

Here are a few sites on WordPress.com using the Custom CSS upgrade that caught our eye:

Whole Lotta Lovely

Rafael Alburquerque, Vice-President of the Dominican Republic

Kiss My Spatula

Things We Make

Fig & Fennel

Journey Photographic

Foody Two Shoes

We love seeing your beautiful work on WordPress.com!


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Sara Rosso

45 Comments

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  1. Mikalee Byerman

    Apparently I need a talented CSS friend for whom I’ll buy a pizza and request a lesson…found it all very cumbersome! :(

    But I’ll keep trying…or looking for that friend…

  2. City Mom

    Wow. This is an upgrade that is clearly worth spending the money for. I am experienced with HTML but I had no idea this type of design was possible with WordPress.com.

    Thanks for the info!

  3. tapegeek

    I really need to get to grips with CSS, some of the example sites are really jaw droppingly good!

  4. gbvaz

    Custom CSS is a must! Nice themes by the way!

  5. foodtable

    Beautiful. Thank you.

  6. JanneBlog.Com

    I just learned by myself and reading customCSS forums :)

  7. Nouveau Stitch

    Here’s another – my site. I’m very much a rookie but did it on my own. No pizza involved.

  8. Alexander Bengtsson

    Gorgeous, creative, shaking things up! Kudos to the artists!
    However, is there room for “Dark Art”? I mean, utterly abstract and suitable for people who want something less shiny? Let me know…I’ve got plenty of work to share!

  9. Olivia Tejeda

    I’d love to customize with the CSS upgrade, but I also found it too cumbersome. I’ve learned tons just creating and running my blog, so there’s hope for me yet, but for now the pre-formatted themes offer enough customization to keep me happy. Like Mikalee above, though, I’ll keep trying. And thanks WordPress.com … again and again and again for making it as easy as you do!

  10. Kerri

    Wow. I see learning CSS in my future, too. These blogs you chose are fantastic! Thanks!

  11. Eric

    Bookmarked for the future when my blog is actually a website :) Thanks!

  12. Tom Baker

    Wonderful – just the thing I was looking for!

  13. asksteplight

    We customised our CSS to ‘up-size’ the clean K2 theme.

    I found it fairly easy to do even with very limited coding experience. You can generally work out what each line of code controls because the code is labelled… Failing that, a little trial and error reveals what is what!

    -Ryan.

  14. FLYNN

    Argh! The feeling of jealousy is mixed in with inspiration. I sure would like to be my own CSS guru to make my weblog pretty. Wow!

  15. Sandra Lee

    I’m so happy I have a CSS Upgrade, although I’ve only made simple changes. None as stunning as the above. They are a great source of inspiration and ideas. Thank you!

  16. thingswemake

    Thank you for choosing my blog to feature in this. I know nothing about CSS or any sort of web tech really. I have stumbled my way through with help on the forums and the odd Google search. WordPress do make things very easy to just ‘have a go’. I love my blog, it’s my connection with the big wide world.

  17. La SuSea

    Very inspiring to want to upgrade!!! Not sure about borders, how that works. Or how much freedom you have to personalize your blog, so it looks unique? But definitely keen to learn about CSS and start looking for a theme to work with!!!

  18. Neeraj Bhushan

    On… something which I just wanted to ask about. How and when did you get the intuition? Thanks for sharing.

  19. Rick Daddario

    yeah, clearly CSS offers a great solution to creating exactly (or close to it) what you want. time is the trade off for me. if i were using CSS in a lot of what i usually do, then i’d be very likely to jump in unconditionally. …that point may be there in the future, right now i’m delighted with the options twenty-ten gave me but have now gone to z-bench – which i’m on now with my first exploration into it. it often takes me a while to learn the tweaks i like on something… eventually tho… CSS is out there, i know. cool. and cool on WP thinking. Mahalo (thanks)

  20. wenu

    The ideas and improvements just keep coming. Our main blog remains set on a pretty ancient but customised Theme, but our latest was a dream to customise from 2010.

  21. Stephanie Post

    As a TOTAL beginner to CSS I found the forums infinitely helpful. Strongly recommend checking them out if you need assistance. Making little tweaks to your site becomes totally addictive though so watch out!

  22. rubiescorner

    This is another creative adventure. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  23. ptrplease

    Great post, all the included links will help CSS’ers of all levels get started. :)

  24. Wicked Mike

    I’m a WordPress lover but without knowing CSS i choose WordPress.com for the simplest sites (a good header can make it look awesome) or for a much more versatile site i go for WordPress.org where CSS doesn’t have to matter because so much is customizable. Great having both options. Seems a better option than a CSS upgrade.

    • Sara Rosso

      Actually, in both cases it’s the CSS that is really doing most of the work – it’s just that on a .org installation, it’s possible you are finding a theme that has the look & feel you exactly want (and therefore the CSS already done).

  25. foodytwoshoes

    Wow! Thank you for featuring my blog *happy dance* :)

  26. Chris Dill

    If you go to Amazon.com, order a book on CSS or HTML. I ordered an old book on HTML 4.0, which was probably published in 2002 but all the information is still pertinent. And once you know HTML, CSS is pretty easy to master. Oh, and the book was $0.01 plus $3.99 shipping.

  27. Intelligent Challenge

    I’m tempted. Those are some awesome examples. You guys are great

  28. elabasery

    good work .. I still need more information about CSS & RSS feeds for my classroom blog

  29. Luke Hall

    I love what’s possible with the custom CSS upgrade! I have two personal sites that use it and pop into the forums often to see if I can help people out. If you’re interested in what’s possible then follow the links in the post (good work wordpress team!) and ask away on the CSS forum. I’d be willing to help people out especially if they have exciting ideas and interesting blogs here.

  30. gxxaxx

    CSS is amazing to work with. There is so much that can be accomplished.

    However, I think it is only fair to acknowledge that it can be a tricky little bugger to learn. This does not mean that it can not or should be be used. You can and should work with it. Just cut yourself a break and acknowledge that learning CSS is at least as hard as learning to drive a car. Meaning it is non-trivial but worth the effort.

    Unfortunately that is only the first part of the story. It turns out that not everyone looks at your blog using the same browser. Some folks use IE 9, IE 8, IE 7, IE 6, Firefox, Chrome, and/or Safari — just to name a few of the more common browsers that are on my mind. There are dozens and dozens of browsers. And, horror of horrors they do not all render css the same.

    Learning to create a css style that renders your page the way you want in the browser you happen to use is only the first step. Next you need to look at it in all of the popular browsers and see if it is equally nice — this is called cross-browser compatibility. Sometimes getting your page to look right in all of the top browsers might involve a little enlightened give and take.

    Once again, non-trivial but definitely worth the effort.

  31. MQ

    Thanks so much, WordPress for letting your eye be caught by the blog I designed. To the CSS enthusiasts, pizza or not pizza, I tell you guys, you CAN! I knew n-o-t-h-i-n-g of CSS before, only some HTML, and everything I now know, I learned through WP help section and the links they provide there. Everything. Now, with this feature and some of the others, there’s no need to go to WordPress.org unless you have a commercial blog.

    You WP folks are AWEsome! You are the best thing that can happen to a blogger. Love you guys!

  32. martinsoler.com

    Sweet, gotta get into this some more. I managed to get a PNG logo onto my blog which was great especially since my blog changes color with every page so the PNG with transparancy comes out great.

  33. DJ Leekee

    Could you give us a hint of which THEME the websites above used?
    I would love to achieve something similar but never know which THEME to begin with to play with in the CSS editor thingy!

    Thanks.

    • Sara Rosso

      That’s a good idea for another post, but it’s important to remember that you can modify the CSS of ALL themes. Start with one that is closest to your ideal site design, and start experimenting!

  34. bolivarj

    What is the price of using CSS? This //wordpress.com site is not impressing me at all. It is hard to find the info needed but I will learn.

  35. Jess C Scott

    Kudos to all who manage to learn CSS — I learned a little bit for a dragon website I’ve been building up on over the years. I might try again sometime in the future!

  36. Sandra Lee

    These look great. It would help to know which themes they are using, it’s not always listed on the site!

  37. phylor

    Unfortunately, my html is pretty rusty, so this will be on my wish list (along with the friend who knows the stuff, pizza, and a couple of beers). I would love to transform my blog with CSS, but need to make/find the friend first. Or, refresh my html knowledge — hey that’s not a bad idea (eg. having trouble with getting badges to stick to my blog!)! Thanks for all the stylistic opportunities.

  38. Jennifer

    Those are some beautiful examples of the versatility of the themes available to those with CSS skills or those who have CSS wizards handy. Maybe it’s time to have another design or Sandbox skin contest? :)

  39. Deena

    Amazed at the originality that is possible “even” at wordpress.com! Oh, if only I had 1) strength to learn html and css and 2) some sense of style for these things. :)

  40. Bearsy

    We only made small changes, but that made our WordPress site just right for us – it’s not difficult when you get the hang of it. However, those examples you’ve posted are fantastic – way beyond our artistic capability. :-(

  41. Luke Hall

    If the site doesn’t have the original theme namechecked in the footer the easiest option is to right click the page and select “view source”. The name of the theme is usually towards the beginning of the head section. Searching the sourcecode for “.css” also helps.

    I’d definitely be up for a Sandbox styling competition!

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