How do I change the look or design of my WordPress website?

How do I do this?

In the WordPress dashboard go to…

  • Appearance > Themes.
  • At the top of the page look for a button that says Add New.
  • When you click the Add New button you see a grid of themes that WordPress have tested and recommend.
  • Use the buttons in the top navigation bar to filter the themes. You can view the most recent themes to become available or the most popular themes etc.
  • When you find a theme you like, press the theme’s preview button to see a large preview of that theme.
  • Click the install button to install a new theme.
  • You can also upload a theme that you have bought from a design shop like StudioPress.

Appearance > Themes > Add New

Appearance Themes Add New


Now you can FILTER to find the theme you want

Appearance Themes Feature Filter


Click the PREVIEW button to see a preview of the theme

Appearance Themes Install and Preview Buttons


If you have bought a theme from a design shop like StudioPress you can upload your theme using the UPLOAD button

Appearance Themes Upload Button


Then upload the theme from your desktop

Appearance Themes Upload

WordPress calls your web design a theme

I want to explain this in really simple terms, so I’ll compare WordPress to a smartphone.

A smartphone is made from two parts.

  • The complicated electronic stuff inside.
  • The plastic cover that you can swap if you want to change the look of your phone.

WordPress is made from two parts.

A Content Management System.
This CMS helps you build and organise all of your pages and posts into a website. Your site visitors don’t see all of this complicated stuff.

A theme or web design.
The design controls how your content is displayed. Such as your website’s background colours and how big the text is etc.

You can easily change the look of your smartphone

You can unclip the plain white cover of your smartphone and replace it with a cover that has a fancy pattern or is brightly coloured.

All of the stuff inside your phone remains untouched. It’s just the cover or shell that changes appearance.

You can do something similar with WordPress

The look of your site depends upon the design or theme you choose to install. To change the look or design of your WordPress website you just install a different theme or web design.

All of your content remains the same. But the background colours, font sizes, and page layout design can be radically different.

Important things to consider before changing themes

If your current site has content in the WordPress sidebars or footer widget areas you will have to reconfigure these widgets in your new theme.

If your old theme uses just two or three widgets in the sidebar or footer you can easily re add these to your new theme.

But some themes can have 10, 20 or even 30 widget areas. These fancy themes can take quite a long time to set up.