Parallax scrolling is an interesting web design technique where the background of a page scrolls at a different speed than the foreground, resulting in a unique scrolling effect. Parallax scrolling is a popular trend in the WordPress space, but some developers have created dedicated parallax WordPress themes that use this technique prominently throughout their pages.
To Use or Not to Use Parallax Scrolling
Every element you incorporate in a design needs to have meaning. Design without purpose is filler more often than not, especially when you consider how taxing a poorly-implemented parallax-scrolling effect can be on a web page. Many instances of this effect are not implemented properly, resulting in web pages that load slowly and scroll with jagged movements.
When the effect is smooth, parallax scrolling can be a wonderful way to capture a visitor’s attention the moment they land on your website, especially when it’s paired with a beautifully-designed web page. It complements creative websites best, especially when those websites incorporate gorgeous imagery and sleek animations into their designs.
30 Premium Parallax WordPress Themes
With that said, let’s take a look at 30 WordPress themes that implement smooth and captivating instances of parallax scrolling. Some of these themes are landing pages and one-page themes, two platforms that make for wonderful uses of parallax scrolling, while others are meant to be used for multi-page websites.
Lobo is a portfolio theme for creatives. It uses a smooth parallax-scrolling effect that works well when used as part of an artistic, minimalist design. It’s also compatible with WooCommerce.
Notio is another multipurpose theme designed for portfolios and ecommerce websites. It has a dedicated parallax demo that uses a smooth scrolling-effect that makes it seem as though particles are floating around the background as you scroll through the foreground.
Avoc is yet another portfolio theme. This one is designed for creative agencies. It has a few different demos, some of which use subtle parallax-scrolling effects to make it seem as though some elements, such as the coffee pictured above, are moving.
Zoo is a well-designed one-page theme designed for freelancers and small to large businesses. It uses a smooth, parallax-scrolling effect as you scroll down the homepage.
Sage is a multipurpose food theme that comes with a number of different demos for different types of cuisine. It uses a smooth, parallax-scrolling effect for a few background elements.
Adventure is a creative portfolio theme for photographers and artists. It uses an aesthetically-pleasing landing page and uses subtle parallax-scrolling effects for backgrounds and specific elements.
Uncode is a multipurpose WordPress theme that comes with multiple demos for creative agencies and businesses. It uses parallax scrolling for a few background images.
Story is a multipurpose WordPress theme for creatives. It comes with multiple demos for different types of creative niches and uses parallax scrolling for background images.
Corpus is a corporate WordPress theme designed for businesses. It has a few different demos and uses parallax-scrolling for background images while pairing them with smooth animations.
ANAGLYPH is a multipurpose WordPress theme that comes with three demos. It can be used as a business theme or WooCommerce theme. It uses parallax scrolling for a few background images and complements it with sleek animations.
Osmosis is a lightweight, multipurpose WordPress theme for creative businesses and freelancers. It has a dedicated Scrolling demo that uses elegant parallax scrolling for background images that flow into one another.
You is a true multipurpose WordPress theme that comes with a variety of different demos for a variety of different businesses. Most of its demos use a subtle parallax-scrolling effect, but it also has a dedicated Parallax demo.
Avatar is a one-page landing page theme. It’s a dedicated parallax theme that uses smooth parallax scrolling combined with even smoother animations.
Axioma is a business theme for SEO consulting and web design agencies. It features a parallax-scrolling effect for background elements and also comes with a dedicated parallax demo.
Stardust is a multipurpose portfolio theme that comes with multiple portfolio variations. It uses parallax scrolling for background images but also comes with a fullwidth parallax demo.
Scroller is a multipurpose WordPress theme designed for service-based businesses, especially those that use portfolios. It uses a parallax-scrolling effect for background images.
Jkreativ is a multipurpose WordPress theme that comes with numerous demos for numerous niches. It uses simple parallax-scrolling effects and smooth animations.
Salient is a multipurpose WordPress theme with demos to suit a variety of different business types and niches. It has landing page demos, ecommerce demos, blogging demos and more. It uses parallax scrolling for background images but also comes with a dedicated multi-layer parallax demo.
Foundry is a multipurpose WordPress theme that comes with different demos to suit different purposes. It has a portfolio demo, a landing page demo, a storefront demo and more. It also comes with smooth parallax scrolling effects for background images.
Rhythm is a multipurpose WordPress theme with over 50 homepage demos. It uses parallax scrolling for most demos but also comes with several dedicated parallax demos.
FlatBook is a landing page theme for ebooks. It comes with three demos, each of which feature a different design. It uses parallax-scrolling effects for background images alongside smooth animations.
AQURA is a niche theme designed for musicians, bands, DJs and similar artists. It comes with several demos, many of which use a unique take on parallax-scrolling effects for background images.
Vigor is a multipurpose theme that uses a different layout for each demo, though each demo uses chic, minimalist styles. When it comes to parallax scrolling, this theme uses a smooth effect that glides along the page.
Willow is a simple one-page theme that comes with two demos. One features a fullscreen video while the other is a dedicated fullscreen parallax demo. This demo features smooth scrolling and slick animations.
Ronneby is a beautiful, minimalist multipurpose theme. It comes several homepage demos to suit different purposes and niches. Many of these demos feature parallax scrolling with background images, but this theme also has powerful scrolling effects in the Scrolling Content demo.
MIES is a niche WordPress theme designed for architecture and design agencies. It uses parallax scrolling for a few background images as you scroll through the page.
Revelance is a multipurpose business theme designed for any niche. It comes with four homepage layouts, each of which feature simple parallax-scrolling effects for background images.
Morpheus is a multipurpose one-page theme designed for parallax scrolling. It features smooth parallax scrolling and transitions that blend in with one another.
Zephyr is a business theme designed with Google’s Material Design. It comes with parallax-scrolling for background images and features slick animations for foreground content.
Podcaster is a simple WordPress theme designed for podcasts. Its homepage demo features a “blogroll” of your latest podcast episodes, and the header image uses a subtle parallax-scrolling effect.
Parallax scrolling is an intriguing effect in web design, and it can really make specific elements pop depending on how you use it, as is the case with themes like Avoc and Notio that make background elements and objects appear as though they’re floating.
The developers of these parallax WordPress themes put in a lot of effort to ensure this effect was implemented properly and in a way that complements the rest of the design rather than taking from it. If you’re interested in using this effect, consider whether you or your client truly needs it. Will it impress potential clients and customers who are interested in your creative services or work, or will it force attention away from your content?
All of these themes implement parallax scrolling in a creative way, so make sure you narrow the list down to the features and niche(s) that make sense for you or your client rather than simply choosing the theme that has the best effect.
At the end of the day, parallax scrolling is meant to be a contributing part of your design, not the centerpiece.