How to Use Tailwind CSS Space Between Utilities Effectively

Tailwind CSS is a utility-first CSS framework that provides a set of classes to build designs directly in your markup. One of the powerful features of Tailwind is its spacing utilities, which include the “space-between” classes. These classes are used to distribute space between child elements within a flex or grid container. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using Tailwind’s space-between utilities.

Understanding Flexbox and Grid

Before diving into Tailwind’s space-between utilities, it’s important to understand the basics of Flexbox and Grid, as these are the CSS layout models that work with space-between.


Flexbox is a one-dimensional layout method for laying out items in rows or columns. It allows you to distribute space dynamically, align items, and handle unknown sizes.


CSS Grid Layout is a two-dimensional layout system for the web. It lets you create complex layouts with rows and columns, and it gives you control over the size and spacing of your grid items.

Tailwind’s Space Between Utilities

Tailwind provides a set of utilities for managing the spacing between child elements, known as space-x-* and space-y-*. These classes add either horizontal or vertical space between child elements.

How to Apply Space Between in Flex Containers

When using Flexbox, you can apply space between your flex items using the following classes:

  • space-x-*: This applies horizontal space between flex items.
  • space-y-*: This applies vertical space between flex items when the flex direction is column.

Here’s how to use them:

<div class="flex space-x-4">
  <div>Item 1</div>
  <div>Item 2</div>
  <div>Item 3</div>

In the example above, space-x-4 adds a default spacing of 1rem (16px) between each flex item.

How to Apply Space Between in Grid Containers

For Grid containers, the space between utilities work similarly:

<div class="grid grid-cols-3 space-x-4">
  <div>Item 1</div>
  <div>Item 2</div>
  <div>Item 3</div>

In this grid layout, space-x-4 will add horizontal spacing between grid items.

Responsive Space Between

Tailwind’s space between utilities can be made responsive using the framework’s responsive prefixes. For example, to apply space only on medium screens and above, you can use:

<div class="flex md:space-x-4">
  <!-- ... -->

Negative Margins and Reverting Space

Sometimes, you might want to negate the space between items or revert to the default spacing. Tailwind provides negative margin utilities and a space-x-reverse or space-y-reverse class to handle these cases.

To negate space:

<div class="flex -space-x-4">
  <!-- ... -->

To revert space:

<div class="flex space-x-4 space-x-reverse">
  <!-- ... -->

Customizing Space Between

Tailwind allows you to customize the spacing scale in your tailwind.config.js file. You can add or modify the existing spacing values to suit your design needs.

// tailwind.config.js
module.exports = {
  theme: {
    extend: {
      spacing: {
        '14': '3.5rem',

Now, you can use space-x-14 or space-y-14 to apply your custom spacing.

Common Questions

Can I use space between with padding or margin?

Yes, you can combine space between utilities with padding or margin classes to achieve the desired layout.

What if the space between isn’t working?

Ensure that the parent container is set to flex or grid and that there are no conflicting margin or padding styles on the child elements.

Is there a way to apply space between only to certain breakpoints?

Absolutely. Tailwind’s responsive design features allow you to apply spacing utilities at specific breakpoints using prefix classes like sm:, md:, lg:, and xl:.


Tailwind’s space between utilities offer a powerful and flexible way to manage the spacing between elements in your layout. By understanding how to use these utilities in conjunction with Flexbox and Grid, you can create responsive, well-spaced designs with ease.

For more in-depth information on Flexbox and Grid, you can refer to the MDN Web Docs on Flexbox and MDN Web Docs on Grid.

Remember to explore Tailwind’s documentation for a complete list of spacing utilities and customization options to fully leverage the power of Tailwind CSS in your projects.


What do you think?