Looking for a new WordPress theme? I’m sharing my honest review of Restored 316 WordPress themes so you can choose the best theme for your website or blog! Plus, all the details on the new Kadence child themes!
Please note that this post contains affiliate links which allow me to earn a small commission when a purchase is made at no additional cost to you. Read more here.
This post was updated 5/14/2021 to chat more about Kadence! I love using Kadence for my website and I was thrilled when Restored 316 starting creating child themes for this amazing new WordPress theme option.
Starting a blog? Updating your website? Bloggers and content creators often know how we want our websites to look, but we don’t always know how to get there. Lauren over at Restored 316 saw this problem and solved it with her exceptional feminine WordPress themes that provide an easy way to create a beautiful blog or website.
Whether you are selling products, creating recipes, blogging DIY projects, creating craft tutorials, or more, Restored 316 themes are a great way to create your personalized website.
I’m excited to share this review with you today as well as my personal experience with Restored 316 + the theme I am currently running on my website.
Heads up! This is a long post! There’s lots of good stuff about all things Restored 316, blogging, and more. But if you are in a hurry, use the Table of Contents below for fast answers.
What Are Restored 316 Themes?
Restored 316 themes are WordPress themes that are essentially a “template” that provides your WordPress website/blog with all the styling you’d expect to see when arriving at a new website. From layout to colors, fonts to call-to-action areas–all this stuff (where it’s located/how it looks) is determined by your choice of theme.
All you have to do is review the selection of themes (I’ll walk you through how to choose which one you need!), choose one, upload it to your site, and then you can customize the theme with your logos, colors, images and more.
Restored 316 designs themes for Show It, the Genesis Framework, and Kadence. I don’t have experience with Show It, but you can read more about it here. I’ll talk about Genesis and Kadence in this post.
Each theme is totally mobile responsive, meaning no funky results when switching from desktop to mobile. If you are nervous to work with a theme for the first time, Restored 316 provides affordable setup packages so that you can start your blog without hesitation.
My Experience with Restored 316 Themes
If you are familiar with Restored 316 themes, you might have noticed that I’m not running a Restored 316 theme on my website. Why not? Well, for the last few years, I used Market theme from Restored 316. I LOVED it and it was a big step forward from my very inadequate WordPress.com site (hint: sign up for a self-hosted website right away!).
Kadence and Restored 316
Well, soon enough, I needed to make some larger changes and I knew it was time for a fresh theme. I realized that what I wanted to do would be best accomplished with Kadence Theme. Kadence is incredible.
You can change just about anything on your site with Kadence–especially things in the header/navigation area. Not to mention all the cool features they continually release.
A few months after I switched, Restored 316 began releasing child themes Kadence. Yay! Now you can have the best of both worlds.
I love the pairing of Kadence + a Restored 316 WordPress child theme for creating a blog or website. Kadence makes your website modern, functional, and usable and the Restored 316 themes make it beautiful.
Note: Since Restored 316 didn’t offer Kadence child themes at the time I switched to Kadence, I have yet to choose a fresh R316 theme. Because of my experience with my previous Restored 316 theme and now with Kadence, I do very confidently recommend this combination for any blogger!
I love using Kadence and I think you’ll love it too! It can be a little overwhelming (ok, a lot overwhelming) to start a website totally from scratch though. That’s why I love pairing Restored 316 with Kadence.
You get the ability to change your site easily, but the child theme from Restored 316 means you can simply plug in your content to an ALREADY gorgeous and organized framework.
Lauren’s Kadence child themes even come with multiple color palettes ready to go so you can get your site up and running fast.
Hint: If you are like me and want to read everything you can before making a decision, also check out the following post too: 14 Things to Know About Restored 316 Themes.
Here’s a few of the reasons I love using Kadence!
I wanted the ability to structure and change my homepage as needed. If you are new to WordPress, you might think, well of course! But actually, until recently, a homepage design of a WordPress theme was pretty locked in (though it could be changed with coding knowledge).
If you want flexibility on your homepage (or any page!) you will love the new block-based editing built on Gutenberg. This can be used in newer Genesis themes like Farmhouse Theme, Thyme Theme, or Glamour theme. But, for the ultimate in flexibility…
…try Kadence! Kadence allows me to update my navigation menus, colors (global color palette–it’s amazing), fonts and so much more. All easily within the WordPress customizer. No desperately googling code changes trying to fix something.
See the global color palette and more in action here on the Kadence homepage.
Which theme to choose? If you are a blogger starting off with Kadence + a Restored 316 Child Theme, I suggest trying Sage or Farmhouse. These each come with multiple homepage options so you can have a variety of pre-designed options to choose from right from the start!
Here’s a glimpse at Sage…so pretty!
Streamlined on Mobile
Something I really love about Kadence is how easy it is to modify your header. With typical themes the header/logo/navigation area usually requires some professional help to change.
With Kadence, it’s as easy as entering the WordPress Customizer, toggling over to your desktop or mobile header and editing where you want your logo to appear, if you’d like a search icon, preferences for the dropdown menu and lots more.
I also like how condensed the header is on mobile. It’s important when visitors come to your site that they see the content they are there for immediately–not just your super-awesome logo!
I always suggest checking out your preferred theme on mobile to see what the layout is like. They are all a bit different, but many changes are possible to do easily.
A couple other quick reasons I switched to Kadence:
I like being able to edit my site easily. As a blogger, there is always plenty to keep up with, and I want my site design to be able to adapt too.
I love being able to edit so much on my website without needing code. Kadence doesn’t mean you’ll never need CSS, but the pairing of Kadence + a pretty child theme means you honestly probably won’t need it. It’s a solution right out of the box that you can adjust to your liking (navigation, fonts, colors, block-based editing).
More Details about Kadence
While the Kadence Theme is super-customizable, you will need to have some coding knowledge if you want to transform the lightweight theme into a gorgeous website similar to the Restored 316 sites.
Kadence provides some starter templates, but there’s really not much for a blogger to choose from. That’s where selecting a Restored 316 child theme is so useful.
You get the ability to change your site easily with Kadence, but styling and design from the child theme means you can simply add your content to an already beautiful website.
Kadence is Free
You’ll need the Kadence theme along with your Restored 316 child theme, and the best part is that it’s free! Now, there’s also a paid Premium version as well as Kadence Pro Blocks (I am running both on my site). This is a yearly subscription.
Do you need to add these to your site? Not at all. Especially if you are new to blogging, I suggest sticking with the free version. If you’ve been blogging for some time, you may realize you need some of the functionalities of the Premium version.
The Premium Plugin Differences: The biggest differences for me with the Premium plugin are additional header/navigation options, a header/footer area in the customizer for custom code, and the ability to create “hooks”.
The lack of a header/footer custom code area in the free version (usually this is where you place Google Analytics tracking and other sitewide code) can be solved with a WordPress header/footer plugin.
And though the “hooks” are really helpful for creating sitewide rules, like an email opt-in at the top of each blog post for instance, this isn’t essential.
Another plus is getting customer support with a paid subscription and any new updates immediately too.
What About Kadence Blocks?
I don’t want to spend too much time on the blocks as you can grab the free plugin for starters, but if you want more, there’s a paid plugin too. The main feature I use on the paid plugin is the blog posts grid.
The blog post grid is amazing for creating custom pages of content and filtering blog posts around particular categories or themes. I don’t know if I totally *need* it, but I definitely want it, so I pay for it!
Again, all you need to run a Restored 316 Kadence theme on your site is the free version of Kadence. The Premium version includes lots of helpful features, but you can manage without it if you prefer.
How do I Know if a Restored 316 Theme is right for me?
Not sure if a Restored 316 theme is right for you? Here’s a quick list to help you decide!
- you are new to WordPress and want some help getting started (you can opt to purchase a setup package with your new theme!)
- want a beautiful website with a custom look
- need flexibility in your homepage design (try a Kadence child theme)
- need great customer service (Restored 316 is amazing and SO helpful!)
- you want extensive tutorials/documentation to help with setup
- already use the Genesis Framework and want to continue to do so (choose a Genesis theme in this case)
- need the ability to sell products (choose a theme that says “WooCommerce Ready”)
- you are a lifestyle blogger, diy blogger, craft blogger, parenting blogger, or just about anything else!
- you need to use a theme on multiple sites
- love trying new themes (with Shimmer Pass you can purchase a year-long pass to access all the Genesis Restored 316 themes with this option. Rumor is that a Kadence pass will be coming out soon too!)
If you aren’t sure, let me assure you that you really cannot go wrong with a Restored 316 theme. My personal preference is using a Kadence child theme because it’s so easy to change things, but a Genesis Framework theme (I suggest choosing a block-based theme–more on that in a minute) is a great choice too. This article details more of the differences.
How Much Do Restored 316 Themes Cost?
While some of the older Restored 316 Themes cost $75, the newer Genesis block-based themes cost $99, and Kadence child themes cost $130-150. This includes six months of support AND you can use the theme as long as you like.
Though I personally suggest choosing a Kadence theme, if you are sticking with a Genesis theme, I suggest choosing a block-based theme (easier to edit). These are Farmhouse Theme (released January 2021), Thyme Theme, Glamour Theme, and Splendor Theme.
I like that you can purchase a Restored 316 theme for a one-time fee and use it as long as you need it. This takes the pressure off if you are building a new website or blog and don’t want to be paying for a subscription while you are still working on building your blog or business. You can also use the theme on multiple sites!
Note: Don’t forget, if you purchase a Genesis theme, unless you already own the Genesis Framework, you will need to purchase it in addition to your theme (you only ever need to purchase Genesis once). Purchasing the Genesis Framework costs $59.95. Read the Restored 316 FAQs and Lauren’s tutorial on how to start a website for more about Genesis.
Which Theme Should I Choose for My Website or Blog?
Wondering which Restored 316 theme to choose? I personally suggest going with a Kadence child theme. My favorites for bloggers are: Sage and Farmhouse (love the four homepage designs and the multiple color palettes). I also really like Captivating or Refined.
If you are sticking with Genesis, I suggest choosing between Farmhouse, Thyme, Glamour, and Splendor. This is because these themes have a new homepage design that allows you to customize with through Gutenberg blocks instead of predetermined widget spaces. It’s a gamechanger.
Here’s a glimpse of Farmhouse:
More Tips for Choosing Your New WordPress Theme
Tip #1: Sketch Out What You Want Your Website to Look Like
Try sketching out a rough idea of what you want your site to look on both desktop and mobile. Where do you want menus, call-to-actions, categories, blog posts, your shop etc.? Create a rough layout you can reference as you shop themes. And remember, with a block-based theme, you can move a lot of things around!
Try this! Something that can help is to look over three of your favorite websites (in a similar niche to yours) and see how they organize things. Note what you like (and what you don’t) and pay attention to that list as you shop.
Tip #2: View the Themes on Mobile
Now, grab your phone, head to Restored 316 and look at a few of the themes on MOBILE. All the themes are absolutely gorgeous on desktop, but the majority of web traffic is on mobile these days and you want to see how your site will look there first.
Tip #3 Understand What Can be Changed and What Can’t Be
Instead of getting laser-focused on the colors, fonts, and imagery of each site (which can all be changed), examine the layout. With a block-based theme (or Kadence!) you have a lot of extra flexibility, but for the quickest startup, choose a theme that you like from the start.
One of my favorite Genesis Themes is the Thyme theme below (multiple homepage options):
Tip #4 Check the Restored 316 Facebook Group
I also suggest checking out the Restored 316 Facebook group. Search the name of the theme(s) you are interested in and see if you can find some other website owners using the theme. This is so helpful to see “real-life” websites with different imagery, fonts, etc., but all using the same structure.
Tip #5 Take the Quiz!
If you are wondering what theme is best for your website, ReStored 316 also has a cool quiz you can take.
I Already Have a Website, Can I Switch to a Restored 316 Theme?
Absolutely! If you have any qualms about switching, be sure to check out the setup packages.
I’m New–Are the Themes Hard to Use?
No, Restored 316 themes are not hard to use, though there may be a bit of learning curve if you are totally new to blogging. Utilize the incredible documentation Restored 316 provides to get your site set up.
The team has done a fantastic job at walking you through every single step of website setup with their documentation (this is NOT something you will get with every theme designer online!). You can also reach out to customer support with questions and they are very quick to respond and resolve issues.
Restored 316 Pros
Let’s do a quick overview once more of the pros of choosing a Restored 316 theme.
- Fantastic customer support and a very helpful FB group too
- MANY designs to choose from
- Kadence Child Themes for the ultimate in flexibility
- Genesis Child Themes for longtime WordPress users who want to stick with Genesis
- Feminine themes that are truly beautiful!
- Speed-tested themes
- Email forms that match your site
- A huge library of documentation for a step-by-step setup of any theme
- Custom set-up packages
- Can use the theme on multiple websites
Another thing I want to note here is that pagespeed and Core Web Vitals are becoming very important in 2021. The team at Restored 316 has kept up with these changes and worked around the clock to ensure their customers have great websites that can meet the new standards.
Restored 316 listens, understands bloggers/content creators, and truly cares about delivering the BEST product they can.
Restored 316 Cons
While I wouldn’t really consider the following three items “cons” to purchasing a Restored 316 theme, I think they are important areas to be aware of:
One con is that while the color schemes of the sites are gorgeous, they often are too low contrast to meet WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).
What does this mean? Firstly, that your site cannot be read easily. Secondly, this can garner more serious problems (or even lawsuits) if it is determined your site is not meeting accessibility guidelines.
All fonts ought to be dark enough that the text is easily read. Light gray fonts or pastels are really pretty, but often they are too light to be read.
You can run all your colors through a contrast checker like WebAIM to ensure your site is readable. Changing your colors is very easy in Restored 316 themes!
And don’t forget to check buttons and hover settings. Double check that any accent colors and the fonts layered on top have enough contrast to be read easily.
Font Sizes Should be Increased
Font sizes are usually a bit too small on Restored 316 designs too. This article from Mediavine explains font sizes and benefits to increasing the size.
In Kadence, this is VERY easy to do. For Genesis, you will have to edit the CSS, but the Restored 316 team is usually happy to help with such changes within your support window.
I suggest examining the demo site closely and making a list of things you will want to change so that you can do so right away and still have the opportunity to ask for help within your 6 months of support.
Another thing you will want to consider is updating your CSS (if using Genesis) so that links will be underlined. This is another area that makes your site accessible to all users. In Kadence this is literally a simple option to toggle on or off. So helpful!
This article is a very helpful read if you would like to learn more about accessibility on websites.
Are Restored 316 Themes Fast?
Ah yes, site speed. The great frustration of web developers and certainly of bloggers everywhere. We want to rank well on Google, so site speed is important!
Now, site speed is a challenging conversation because there are SO many variables! If you are concerned, I suggest asking fellow bloggers, doing a plugin audit (a must!), and considering Kadence. Kadence is super light and choosing a Kadence child theme will get you scoring better on speed tests right from the start.
How Can I Check Site Speed?
You can get an idea of site speed by doing the following. First, grab the link to the demo site of the theme you are looking into. Here is Farmhouse.
Next, paste that link into Google Pagespeed Insights and/or GTmetrix (I suggest both). See what the scores look like. This is not the score that YOUR site will receive, but it gives you an idea of the theme itself.
You can also read through the test results to see what things you can change to get a better score. Things like lazy-loading and serving images in next-gen formats for example.
Optimize with a Plugin
I’ve personally found that optimizing with SG Optimizer made a big difference in my overall sitespeed. Caching, optimizing images, and more are some of the basics you will need to cover. You can use SG Optimizer if your host is Siteground, otherwise check out WP Rocket.
Wrapping it Up!
In summary, I know you will love your Restored 316 Theme. I love the new Kadence Themes, but using the Genesis Framework is still a great choice too.
Share Your Site with Me!
If you decide to give Restored 316 a try, share with me in the comments which theme you chose and a link to your site! I would absolutely love to see!