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CSS Backgrounds

The CSS background properties are used to add background effects for elements.

In these chapters, you will learn about the following CSS background properties:

  • background-color
  • background-image
  • background-repeat
  • background-attachment
  • background-position
  • background (shorthand property)

CSS background-color

The background-color property specifies the background color of an element.


The background color of a page is set like this:

body {
  background-color: lightblue;
Try it Yourself »

With CSS, a color is most often specified by:

  • a valid color name - like "red"
  • a HEX value - like "#ff0000"
  • an RGB value - like "rgb(255,0,0)"

Look at CSS Color Values for a complete list of possible color values.

Other Elements

You can set the background color for any HTML elements:


Here, the <h1>, <p>, and <div> elements will have different background colors: 

h1 {
  background-color: green;

div {
  background-color: lightblue;

p {
  background-color: yellow;
Try it Yourself »

Opacity / Transparency

The opacity property specifies the opacity/transparency of an element. It can take a value from 0.0 - 1.0. The lower value, the more transparent:

opacity 1

opacity 0.6

opacity 0.3

opacity 0.1


div {
  background-color: green;
  opacity: 0.3;
Try it Yourself »

Note: When using the opacity property to add transparency to the background of an element, all of its child elements inherit the same transparency. This can make the text inside a fully transparent element hard to read.

Transparency using RGBA

If you do not want to apply opacity to child elements, like in our example above, use RGBA color values. The following example sets the opacity for the background color and not the text:

100% opacity

60% opacity

30% opacity

10% opacity

You learned from our CSS Colors Chapter, that you can use RGB as a color value. In addition to RGB, you can use an RGB color value with an alpha channel (RGBA) - which specifies the opacity for a color.

An RGBA color value is specified with: rgba(red, green, blue, alpha). The alpha parameter is a number between 0.0 (fully transparent) and 1.0 (fully opaque).

Tip: You will learn more about RGBA Colors in our CSS Colors Chapter.


div {
  background: rgba(0, 128, 0, 0.3) /* Green background with 30% opacity */
Try it Yourself »

The CSS Background Color Property

Property Description
background-color Sets the background color of an element

CSS — Background Colors — W3Schools Video

This video is an introduction to Background Colors in CSS.

Part of a series of video tutorials to learn CSS for beginners!