Adelle is a popular free theme — our 47th most popular, to be exact. You’ve probably seen its familiar pink dots, bold menu bar, and pops of magenta as you catch up with your favorite blogs.
Don’t be fooled by Adelle‘s distinctive look, though: there’s a lot more to this theme than polka dots, as these five bloggers ably demonstrate.
Blogger Elaine chose Adelle for the cleverly-named MomJeanz, then gave it a complete makeover using only free options available to any blogger:
She uploaded a custom header image and swapped out Adelle‘s dots for her own textured background. Everything else stays the same — layout, fonts, colors — but the theme becomes uniquely hers.
(If a custom header image seems beyond your technical or design chops, we’ve got a tutorial that will help you create one in less than fifteen minutes, no special software required. We’ve also got leads on great sites for background-friendly textures and patterns.)
Fashion blogger Kristi uses those same free options to tailor Alligator Toe, but ends up with a different feel; it’s simple yet colorful, crisp yet handmade:
She also opts for a custom header, but keeps thing clean with a design that’s text only, then trades in Adelle‘s bubbly pink circles for her own minimalist take on the polka dot. The effect is decidedly modern, and decidedly her.
Girl Lost in the City
Like Adelle‘s nifty features and integrated social sharing icons, but want something even more minimalist? Journalist Emma Gannon blogs at Girl Lost in the City, where she adds the Custom Design upgrade to Adelle — then uses it to strip the theme down:
Emma’s take on Adelle loses more than the pink dots; thanks to some custom CSS, even the black menu bar and circles used to highlight the post date get the axe. What’s left is a clean, easy-to-navigate site with a sidebar jam-packed with useful information like links to her popular posts and other profiles and publications where readers can find her.
(Not comfortable with CSS? We’ve got you covered there, too.)
Bangers & Mash
Custom Design isn’t just for paring Adelle back. English mom and blogger Vanesther uses it to change up the colors and fonts on Bangers & Mash to give her cooking blog a homey feel:
The pink dots are back, but they soften against a warm taupe background, while Adelle‘s default hot pink accents are replaced with a sophisticated teal. The menu bar and social sharing icons take on a deeper version of her background color. A custom header pulls the whole look together.
The Utter Blog
If you’re feeling ready to take your Custom Design skills to the next level, The Utter Blog is an excellent example of how much is possible — you’ve got to look hard to see Adelle‘s bones in this personality-filled wedding planning site:
Custom Colors, Fonts, and CSS come together for a bespoke site. The social sharing icons and sidebar are there, as is the black circle highlighting the post date, but everything else is tailored. The dots fade away, the menu bar is replaced with a series of buttons designed to mesh with the wood-paneled background, and a secondary menu pops up along the top edge of the site. The site bursts with charm — perfect for a wedding blog.
You can learn more about and activate Adelle in the Theme Showcase. Once you do, explore all your customizing options in the Customizer.