How to Use Tailwind CSS Background Origin

Tailwind CSS is a utility-first CSS framework that provides developers with a set of tools to quickly build custom user interfaces. One of the many utilities it offers is the control over background origin, which determines the positioning area of the background images or colors of an element. In this article, we’ll explore how to use the Tailwind CSS background origin utility, covering all the aspects you need to know to effectively apply it to your projects.

Understanding Background Origin

Before diving into Tailwind’s implementation, it’s important to understand what background origin is. The background-origin CSS property sets the background’s origin: the point from where the background starts. There are three possible values:

  • border-box: The background extends to the outside edge of the border.
  • padding-box: The background extends to the outside edge of the padding. No background is drawn beneath the border.
  • content-box: The background is painted within (and clipped to) the content box.

Setting Up Tailwind CSS

To use Tailwind’s background origin utility, you first need to have Tailwind CSS installed in your project. If you haven’t already set up Tailwind CSS, you can follow the official installation guide.

Using Tailwind CSS Background Origin

With Tailwind CSS, you can easily apply background origin properties using the following classes:

  • bg-origin-border: This utility applies the border-box value.
  • bg-origin-padding: This utility applies the padding-box value.
  • bg-origin-content: This utility applies the content-box value.

Example Usage

Here’s how you can use these utilities in your HTML:

<div class="bg-origin-border bg-red-200 ...">Border Box</div>
<div class="bg-origin-padding bg-green-200 ...">Padding Box</div>
<div class="bg-origin-content bg-blue-200 ...">Content Box</div>

Each of these divs will have a different background origin, affecting how the background is displayed in relation to the border, padding, and content.

Customizing Background Origin

Tailwind CSS is highly customizable, and you can add or remove values for the background origin utility in your tailwind.config.js file. However, since background origin is not commonly customized, Tailwind doesn’t include a dedicated section for it in the default configuration. If you need to extend Tailwind with custom background origin utilities, you can do so by adding them to the extend section of your config:

// tailwind.config.js
module.exports = {
  theme: {
    extend: {
      backgroundOrigin: {
        'custom-value': 'custom-box',

Responsive Design

Tailwind CSS utilities can be applied conditionally at different breakpoints. This means you can have different background origins at different screen sizes. Here’s how you can apply responsive background origins:

<div class="bg-origin-border md:bg-origin-padding lg:bg-origin-content ...">
  Responsive Background Origin

In this example, the background origin will be border-box on small screens, padding-box on medium screens (starting at 768px by default), and content-box on large screens (starting at 1024px by default).


Tailwind CSS’s background origin utilities offer a simple and effective way to control the background positioning area of your elements. Whether you’re working on a responsive design or need to tweak the background origin for a specific component, Tailwind makes the process straightforward.

Remember to check the Tailwind CSS documentation for the most up-to-date information on background origin and other utilities. With the knowledge you’ve gained from this article, you’re now equipped to use background origin in your Tailwind CSS projects like a pro.

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