Every WordPress.com theme has some customizable features – features that vary in number, kind and location from theme to theme.
You can select from a wide assortment of themes for no charge. Or you can purchase a premium theme featuring interesting designs, options for customization, and premium theme support directly from the theme authors themselves.
While you can’t create your own theme or import another one into a free hosted WordPress.com as there is no FTP access and you cannot upload any third party themes, you have a large collection to choose from found in your dashboard at > Appearance > Themes and showcased in the Themes Showcase.
Changing themes is quick and easy.
Go to Dashboard > Appearance > Themes
browse themes until you find one you like and click “Activate”
or type in the name of the theme you want to use and
click the “Activate” link when it appears.
After you change your theme all you need to do is go here Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets > Inactive Widgets and re-install them where you want them to appear. The widget contents and settings will be the same as they were prior to changing themes.
You do not need to load the custom design tools unless you have purchased the Custom Design upgrade. All of these functions can be accessed from your dashboard:
Appearance > Header – Many WordPress.com themes allows you to upload your own custom image header to obtain a much more personalized look and feel.
Appearance > Background – Most WordPress.com themes allow you to customize the background of your blog by either uploading an image or selecting a color.
Appearance > Theme Options (applicable only to some themes)
Settings > Reading – On any WordPress.com theme you can choose whether either a static page for your front page or a dynamic view with your latest posts.
Site Title and Tagline > Settings > General – The title is used to name the browser window and search engines display them on their search results. The Tagline is optional.
No changes you make aside from those found in the features listed in the right hand sidebar on the theme description page for your theme (see above) will be visible to visitors unless you purchase the annually renewable Custom Design upgrade and do the required CSS editing.
NOTE: The Appearance → Themes → Customize section will not load if you have not yet published any content on your blog.
If you are using the “Try Now” preview mode for the paid Custom Design upgrade to select, etc. some of the settings in that mode will save but they won’t show up on the front end unless you purchase the upgrade.
To go back to the free options, go to Appearance → Themes → Customize → Colors and click the “exit the preview” link in yellow at the top of the panel on the right.