The concept of parallax scrolling has been around for years. Although it can be used in all types of websites, this is primarily used on creative sites for agencies or product landing pages.
And while this trend is really popular it’s also easy to go too far with it. That’s why I’ve curated this list of WordPress themes that do parallax design right.
None of these features are too overwhelming, yet none of them are too subtle to notice. They find a good balance with parallax features and they equally incorporate responsive techniques too.
If you’re looking to launch a site with parallax features then one of these themes is a sure bet.
1. Parallax Frame
The Parallax Frame theme is great because it comes as a freemium product from Catch Themes. Granted they do have a pro version with some extra backend features, but you can get by with the free alternative.
Parallax Frame is super easy to setup and has a bunch of slideshow options for the homepage. You simply upload the photos you want, change the slideshow text, then set it to whichever homepage style you want(the free version just has one).
Each page with the feature photo section uses the parallax effect. This can even work lower on the page as you scroll past elements with full-page photo backgrounds.
I mostly consider this theme an example of parallax hero headers with added parallax features throughout the content.
It’s a great resource for anyone who wants to use parallax design on their portfolio or agency site, without having to add a custom plugin to get it working.
Another free option is Hestia created by ThemeIsle. They have a bunch of themes released for free and this is the perfect blend of responsive design with parallax features.
If you know your way around CSS you can always convert a theme into a responsive layout. But why do that when you can start with one?
Hestia uses flat material design colors and very simple animations. The theme itself can be used for almost anything: portfolios, blogs, business sites, whatever you want.
This makes it incredibly versatile and one of the better choices for a generic parallax design. All the parallax photo features can be controlled from the admin panel so you choose which sections of the page work with parallax animations.
Since you can grab this for free it makes Hestia one of the more popular choices. Although it’s worth noting the free theme can feel limiting without some extra plugins.
If you like single page themes then you’ll adore Panoply. It comes with a bunch of great parallax features and custom options for changing the main hero header slideshow.
But every photo section can span the entire page width using parallax animations on every scroll. It’s the perfect theme for a detailed landing page, or even a simpler portfolio site.
The design is certainly minimalist being a one-page feature. This means it comes with the jump link navigation where you can setup page sections inside the nav, then the links scroll down to that section on each click. Pretty cool!
Also note I couldn’t find any sort of upgrade for this theme so I think it was released as a free theme only.
Awesome choice for anyone who needs a single-page layout and wants to avoid those annoying upgrade messages in the WP dashboard.
With over 30 demo styles and custom page layouts Rhythm is a massive responsive theme for pretty much everyone.
It’s the perfect theme for all creative professionals whether you do digital design work, illustration work, or anything similar. It does rely on some parallax features but luckily those don’t take up the majority of the page.
The whole thing is powered by Bootstrap meaning you have full access to Font Awesome icons, not to mention the numerous featured modules you get with Bootstrap like modal windows and tabbed widgets.
Lots of shortcodes, tons of cool animations, and great documentation all define the Rhythm theme as a one-stop shop for everything you’d need.
And with 30+ demo styles to pick from you can certainly use this for more than just a portfolio site. It’ll take some customizing but with enough elbow grease you can run this for pretty much any website.
Here’s another large premium theme called Jevelin also released on ThemeForest. This one’s multi-purpose as well meaning you can use it for pretty much anything.
It supports the natural blog feature, custom portfolio entries, and even connects into WooCommerce if you wanna run a shop with Jevelin.
The parallax image features are subtle but they’re featured in quite a few demos. Everything can be setup manually in the backend so if you have plenty of HD photos you’ll have no trouble getting this theme running.
Also take a peek at their demo video to see how all these features work on a real site.
The theme is very practical and easy to setup, but there’s a lot of options to go through to get it working smoothly.
Looking for a theme that comes packaged with crazy cool animation effects? Then you want a copy of Themo, a beautiful parallax-styled WordPress theme with a parallax composer.
This composer screen is a brand new tool created specifically for this theme in the backend. It lets you drag & drop features onto the page, structure how they animate into view, and choose when to toggle parallax features on or off.
If you can learn your way around the basic WordPress admin panel then you’ll have full control over these parallax features. With maybe 15-20 minutes of practice you should have a solid grasp of the parallax composer and how it works.
Themo embodies a lot of what I love about WordPress: control.
Your average webmaster can launch this theme and have full control over parallax features on the page. You won’t find that anywhere else and it’s what makes this theme so pragmatic, especially for parallax-styled websites.
The super simple Avatar theme comes with a single page design and a regular design. This lets you choose how to structure your content and how the page should work.
With the single-page design you can easily setup parallax elements on scroll. Same goes for the navigation links which come with pretty scrolling animations.
But to get a real feeling for the theme you should check out the many demo pages. They range from simple landers to more complex business pages, all the way to ecommerce shops or freelance portfolio layouts.
All of them support parallax features so there’s no shortage of motion effects.
Plus this comes with its own visual composer so you can easily drag & drop elements to get the perfect page layout, whatever that means to you.
Black and white vintage themes tend to work best for online stores, blogs, and related niche company sites. Think nature products or woodland/homesteading content.
The Cabin WordPress theme should fit the bill nicely with its custom vintage look and extended backend features. You can set this up to run any type of website, including a shop with WooCommerce and a custom portfolio site.
The theme includes over 40 custom shortcodes, unlimited color choices, and custom features that let you style each page’s parallax setup.
Naturally Cabin is also fully responsive but you don’t have as much control over the breakpoints. If you know CSS then you can dive in to start editing right away. But non-coders may have to settle for the existing responsive styles.
Either way Cabin’s default colors and page styles can fit with almost any minimal or vintage site. The parallax features almost seem like a minor bonus with everything else you get.
9. SKT Parallax Me
Parallax Me is one of the more generic themes you can use, but this also makes it one of the most fluid. You can set this up for pretty much any company, any landing page, and get it working fast.
By default you can add up to 20 different sections on the homepage all with parallax features. You can change the background of each section to include whichever photos you like, or even embed videos to some sections.
Plus this comes packaged with a bunch of shortcodes for testimonials, galleries, pricing tables, you name it. You can run this theme for any type of site so long as you’re willing to make time to customize it.
The whole theme comes with a few other nice features like being 100% retina-ready, supporting translations, and supporting all 500+ Google fonts which you can alter on the backend.
With so much control and variety in this design it’s certainly a theme worth considering if you need strong parallax photo features.
10. AccessPress Parallax Pro
The folks at AccessPress also created their own parallax theme and it’s pretty darn nice. The parallax effects can work with 3D elements too which is a huge step up from most other parallax websites.
But you are still limited to the typical WordPress admin panel, something that may be tough for some users to learn. If you’re a developer then you’ll have no trouble digging into the code but that’s not always practical.
Here’s another nice thing about Parallax Pro: it comes with a free alternative to the paid theme. So if you wanna take this for a test run before buying you can download & install the freemium option.
Alternatively have a peek at the live demo online. This should be enough for you to gauge if this is worth using on your site or not.
My one major gripe with Parallax Pro is that it doesn’t feel as versatile when you first set it up.
When you install this out of the box it won’t have all the custom features you see in the demo. So you have to be comfortable editing WordPress to get the theme running smoothly.
Still, for all the options you have at your disposal it’s worth a test run.
11. Themify Parallax
Themify Parallax is, like you might expect, a parallax theme from the folks at Themify.
This one’s a little different since it comes with a huge fullscreen header on the main page. It’s possible to disable it, but I also think this feature is what gives the theme its character.
By default it comes with a 2-col layout and custom parallax scrolling features. Once you get it installed you can easily change these features to suit your needs, but they work on almost any photo section. Themify has their own custom builder tool which is also pretty handy.
Have a look at their demo video if you wanna see this in action. It’s a pretty great theme considering it’s natural parallax design, but it can feel limiting since the layout is tough to change.
I mostly recommend this for detailed portfolio pages or creative studio/agency websites.
12. Parallax One
I mentioned a free ThemeIsle WP theme earlier in this gallery but they do have one other fantastic parallax theme that comes in free & premium with detailed parallax features.
Parallax One is a single-page business theme catering to designers who love parallax pages. You can setup the entire page with custom parallax sections using icons, photos, and even animated elements like testimonials.
In the backend you’ll have full access to the theme’s customization panel which lets you change the colors, fonts, and page styles. Plus it supports all languages with .po files for localization.
ThemeIsle frequently updates their themes so be sure to check the main Parallax One page for more details.
You can probably get away with the free theme but I definitely recommend buying the full version if you have the scratch. It comes with extra widgets like news & maps, along with extra plugins for adding contact details and more complex portfolio pages.
Note that Parallax One is truly a portfolio-style theme meant for businesses and freelancers. This won’t work as well for non-corporate sites without a lot of customization.