WordPress Theme Options & Settings (5 EASY Ways To Customize Your Theme)

wordpress theme options banner

If you want to customize your theme, you need to know about the WordPress theme options.

After reading this article, you will know the different ways to customize your WordPress theme.

And my favorite one among them.

So, let’s begin.

WordPress theme options

WordPress themes can be customized using the theme options in the Customizer of WordPress or through child themes or by editing the code in the Theme File Editor or by using a page builder plugin. Some WordPress themes have a separate theme options panel for customizing the theme.

Where do I find theme options in WordPress?

You can find the theme options in WordPress by clicking on Appearance → Customize (Fig.1).

wordpress theme options
Fig.1 The WordPress Theme Options or The Customizer

If your theme has a separate theme options panel, click on the theme’s name on the left and there will be an option to customize the theme.

What are the theme options?

The theme options vary from one theme to another.

For example, the theme options in the Twenty Twenty-One theme (Fig.2) are Site Identity, Colors & Dark Mode, Background Image, Menus, Widgets, Homepage Settings, Excerpt Settings, and Additional CSS. 

theme options in the twenty twenty-one theme
Fig.2 The theme options in the Twenty Twenty-One theme

But the theme options in the Astra theme (Fig.3) are Global, Header Builder, Breadcrumb, Blog, Sidebar, Footer Builder, Performance, Site Identity, Menus, Widgets, and Homepage Settings.

astra theme options
Fig.3 The theme options in the Astra theme

Are theme options and WordPress add theme options the same?

No. Theme options and the WordPress Add Theme options are not the same things.

The theme options available under Appearance → Customize (Fig.1) are used to customize a WordPress theme.

You can customize the colors, layout, typography, menu, etc. through the theme options of the Customizer.

On the other hand, the Add Themes option available under Appearance → Themes → Add New (Fig.4) is used to add a new WordPress theme.

add themes option in WordPress
Fig.4 The Add Themes option in WordPress

How can I customize my WordPress theme?

There are 5 WordPress theme customization options as discussed below – 

1. The Customizer 

The Customizer is the default theme customization option in WordPress.

After opening the customizer screen from Appearance → Customize, you will find different theme options on the left like Site Identity, Colors & Dark Mode, Background Image, Menus, Widgets, etc. (Fig.2)

You can customize the theme currently installed by clicking on one of these options.

2. Theme options panel

A WordPress theme may have its own theme options panel, created by the theme developer using the Theme Options API of WordPress.

In such a case, you can customize the theme either from the default Customizer or through its own theme options panel.

For example, in the Astra theme, you have the Astra Options under Appearance (Fig.5).

astra theme options panel
Fig.5 The Theme Panel in the Astra theme

3. Child themes

The best way to build a custom WordPress theme is to use a WordPress theme Framework.

The biggest advantage of using a WordPress theme framework is that you do not need to code a custom theme from scratch.

There are different WordPress theme options frameworks for WordPress like StudioPress, Redux, Divi, Unyson, etc.

WordPress theme frameworks are basic WordPress themes that act as a foundation to build a custom theme with the custom features that you want.

Hence, such WordPress theme frameworks are called the parent WordPress theme.

And the custom theme is called a child theme.

So, you can customize every part of the parent theme through the child theme.

4. Theme File Editor

You can also customize your WordPress theme using the Theme File Editor in WordPress which is available under Appearance → Theme File Editor (Fig.6).

theme file editor in WordPress
Fig.6 The Theme File Editor

The Theme File Editor contains the core WordPress files like functions.php, style.css, etc.

You need to have coding knowledge to modify these files.

5. Page builders

A page builder is a WordPress plugin for building pages for your website.

Such page builders have more customization options than the default Gutenberg page builder of WordPress.

Some of these page builders also have readymade page templates, which you can import directly to WordPress.

Some popular page builders are Elementor, Divi, Beaver, Visual Composer, etc.

Is there any theme options WordPress plugin?

Yes, there are a few theme options WordPress plugins, but I do not recommend using them.

Such plugins actually do not really serve any purpose when you have other better options as above.

Are all WordPress themes customizable?

Yes. All WordPress themes are customizable.

Are WordPress themes fully customizable?

Yes. All WordPress themes are fully customizable if you use a page builder or change the codes of the theme through the Theme File Editor.

The Full Site Editing feature was also introduced in WordPress 5.9, but only a handful of WordPress themes support it till now.

Conclusion

We have learned about the 5 ways to customize a WordPress theme which are –

  • Customizer
  • Theme options panel
  • Child themes
  • Theme File Editor
  • Page builders

My favorite way to customize a WordPress theme is using a child theme because –

  • I can choose the best WordPress theme framework.
  • I do not need to learn to code.
  • I can save a lot of time.
  • I can get customer support for the framework.
  • I can customize the site fully.
  • When the framework updates, the child theme will remain unaffected.

So, what’s yours?

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