How to work with background images in Tailwind CSS

By Vivian


May 24, 2022

There are multiple ways to work with background images using Tailwind but I’ll show you the 3 most common (and recommended) ways to do it on your project.

Via the tailwind config:

Let’s start the old-fashioned way, by adding it to the tailwind config. This is great if you want to reuse the image in multiple places in your project.

I recommend you add it in the extend object of your config, like this:

  extend: {
backgroundImage: {
'hero': "url('../public/images/hero.jpg')",

Then in your HTML you use it like this:

<div class="bg-hero"></div>

Via the style attribute:

If you prefer to skip the config then you can just add it using the style attribute, like this:

<div style="background-image: url('../public/images/hero.jpg');"></div>

This is good if you plan to add more inline styles to your element or even perform some conditional logic with the image.

Via using an arbitrary value:

Now in V3, you can do this fancy syntax too. If you prefer not to use inline styles and have a single-use image then this is the best approach.

<div class="bg-[url('../public/images/hero.jpg')]"></div>

But you’ll also need these properties

Following our example of a hero background image, once you have your image showing on your page then you’ll also want to:

  • Make it not repeatable by using bg-no-repeat
  • Have it use all the available space by adding bg-cover
  • Positioning it in the center by using bg-center
  • Possibly make it parallax with bg-fixed

Here’s the finished markup for you:

<div class="bg-hero bg-no-repeat bg-cover bg-center bg-fixed"></div>

Here’s also a Tailwind Play example you can play around with.

Disable/change the image in specific breakpoints

This is a pro tip for you, for example let’s say that you want to disable the background image in tablets and use a different image for desktop, this is where the arbitrary value approach really shines:

bg-no-repeat bg-cover bg-center

That’s it for this one! I hope you learned the multiple ways to use background images with Tailwind CSS and how to use them on your project.

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