Tired of looking at the same boring old WordPress admin theme?
Ok, there’s nothing wrong with the default WordPress dashboard styling. But sometimes you might want to get a little bit more creative for yourself, your users, or your clients (if you’re building websites for other people). That’s where WordPress admin themes come in.
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Despite the name, WordPress admin themes are not actually themes in the WordPress sense of the word. Rather, they’re plugins that you install on your site to change the style of the WordPress admin screens.
But in this post, we’re going to focus almost entirely on looks (though some of these WordPress admin themes let you tweak functionality as well).
Ready to get started? Here are 10+ of our favorite WordPress admin themes for 2018.
Best WordPress Admin Themes 2018
These are in no particular order, but I will cover the free admin themes first before diving into the more full-featured paid themes.
Whenever I can find a free version of the admin theme, I’ll install it on a test site to show you how it looks on a clean install. And I’ll also note if there are any special configuration steps you need to take (most don’t require any configuration, though).
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If you love flat design, Flatty is the WordPress admin theme for you. It reskins your entire WordPress admin area using flat design principles.
Beyond reskinning, it also:
- Changes the style on the WordPress login page to also use flat design
- Adds Google Recaptcha to the login page
- Lets you white-label the dashboard
- Gives you the option of using a custom logo
- Lets you hide widgets from the dashboard
- Includes a new simplified top bar
Flatty starts working as soon as you activate it. But you can also further customize things by using the new Flatty option in your WordPress dashboard sidebar.
Slate is a popular WordPress admin theme that’s active on over 6,000 sites and has a stellar 5-star rating.
Whereas Flatty gives you lots of customization options, Slate pretty much just reskins your dashboard. There’s nothing to configure – just install it and enjoy the cool new slate styling you see above.
If you want a dark WordPress admin theme, this one is a great option.
Fancy Admin UI
Slate made for a good dark option, but what if you’re searching for a light WordPress admin theme? In that case, Fancy Admin UI might be more up your alley.
It gives you the airy blue theme that you see above.
I’m a big fan of this one as it’s really easy on the eyes.
If desired, you can also change the Admin UI primary and secondary colors by going to Settings → General. Other than that, you pretty much just activate the plugin and you’re good to go.
Whereas Flatty focused on flat design, Aquila uses another one of my favorite design trends – material design.
It completely reskins the WordPress admin dashboard and login page and also lets you:
- Choose your own color scheme
- Use your own logo
Beyond that, it also makes some other changes:
- Renames “posts” to “blog” (you can change this back if desired)
- Cleans up various dashboard meta boxes
- Declutters the admin bar
- Includes some new dashboard widgets
- Cleans up the user profile area
This is the admin theme that the developer uses for client websites, which is a cool tidbit.
Kodeo doesn’t make huge changes to the WordPress admin area in terms of color – it just cleans it up and redesigns a lot of the elements to improve user experience.
For example, many of the buttons are redesigned. And the theme also turns some options that were previously regular links into buttons to make them more visible (I’ve taken a screenshot of the editor screen as it does a good job of showing that).
If you’re already happy with the colors of the WordPress admin area and just want a redesigned user experience, this is a good one to check out.
Everest Admin Theme Lite (Or Pro)
Everest Admin Theme is the first potentially premium WordPress admin theme on this list, though there is a lite version at WordPress.org which still gives you a good amount of functionality.
In the free version, you get to choose from 4 different pre-designed admin templates (the paid version ups that to 25).
Beyond that, you also get lots of customization options, including options to:
- Choose your own background color for the whole dashboard or the menu
- Hide various elements, like the admin footer
- Add your own custom CSS
- Customize the login page
The paid version also gives you control over hiding/organizing individual elements in your WordPress dashboard sidebar menu.
Price: Free for Lite version. $22 for the full version.
WPShapere is a popular premium option that gives you a huge amount of control over your WordPress admin dashboard.
It comes with 16 different pre-made templates and also lets you further customize things with unlimited color choices.
As a premium option, it also goes a lot deeper than just styling. You’ll also be able to:
- Completely white-label the WordPress dashboard
- Re-arrange or hide elements on the admin menu
- Customize the admin menu by user role
- Use your own custom labels and icons
- Customize the login page
- Add your own custom dashboard widgets
The themes look pretty great. And it’s also an affordable option as far as premium plugins go.
Ultra Admin is another popular premium option that’s available for sale at CodeCanyon. It ships with 34 different WordPress admin themes to help you get a custom admin area from day one. And it also lets you create your own admin theme if those pre-made templates aren’t enough.
Beyond that, you also get plenty more customization options. You’ll be able to:
- Customize how your admin menus look
- Customize the WordPress login page
- Choose whether to include the footer
- Use custom CSS if needed
All in all, another good option if you want to make full-scale changes to the WordPress admin area.
Pixo is another WordPress admin theme with a nice airy feel to it. I like the look of the styling a lot – quite modern.
Like the other premium options, it goes beyond looks and also lets you customize your:
- Login page
- Admin toolbar
One of the things that most caught my eye about First is it how redesigns the WordPress admin sidebar with those big icons. It looks great, and I imagine it makes things especially easy for clients who are a little less…tech savvy.
Beyond the new styling, you can also:
- Add a custom logo
- Change how the admin toolbar works
- Customize the login page
Clientside is a minimal WordPress admin theme that’s maintained a stellar 4.8-star rating over at CodeCanyon.
The look probably isn’t for everyone, but if you want to create a clean, de-cluttered experience for yourself or your clients, it’s a neat solution.
Beyond the “harmonious” design, Clientside also lets you customize which UI elements appear on a per user role.
Which Is Your Favorite WordPress Admin Theme?
And that wraps up the best premium and free WordPress admin themes that I could find!
Which of these themes is your favorite? Personally, I love the flat design approach to the WordPress dashboard, but let us know your favorites in the comments. And if you know of a great WordPress admin theme that didn’t make the list, please share that in the comments, too!