Simplest way to do very basic customization of Wordpress?

I have the not-uncommon intention of getting back into blogging, and after investigating the platform options I’ve gathered the overwhelming recommendation is Wordpress. I’ve got the host, the domain, and Winstalled on the server. Here is the issue…

I don’t want anything fancy. I want the most basic blog layout there is: header, footer, article snippets in left column and archive/search in side bar. That being said, I don’t want to write on a canned template; I want to do a bit of branding that tells the reader where they are. This is also important because I may want to use my blog as a sort of portfolio for my skills.

So I’ve created a few simple images - header, background and menu buttons - and I cannot find a single Wordpress theme that will allow me to implement these in the way that I’d like. I know basic html, but I can’t dig into that here. The idiot-proofing has walled me out.

I’ve completely hit a wall just because I’m trying to conform my extremely simple layout to the Wordpress format and I don’t have time to become a Wordpress wizard. I have tried searching forums and reading tutorials, but I just get overwhelmed. I feel like everything I’m looking at is way more complicated than what I actually need.

Can anyone here advise me on the simplest method to override defaults and customize the basic components of a Wordpress theme?
Nox ShowBox

I suggest you start with this https://codex.wordpress.org/Blog_Design_and_Layout

Hello @zackfernandes

If none of the built in themes have the flexibility you need ( twenty-sixteen, twenty-seventeen, etc. ) you can try Google or Bing searching for Blank WordPress themes. That will turn up a bunch of possibilities.

For example, Top 10 Blank WordPress Themes