How to Create a Dark / Light Mode for Websites

Published on December 28, 2019

Use-Cases of this tutorial

  • Know how to give a dark or light theme to webpages depending on the mode chosen in the device settings.
  • Know about prefers-color-scheme CSS media query.

A website can be shown in dark / light mode using the prefers-color-scheme media query.

Giving user the preference of choosing a dark or light theme has become a very popular feature of operating systems.

Dark / light mode option setting in Android :

Dark / light mode option setting in Windows :

A dark color theme helps in reducing impact on the eyes. It can also increase the battery life of the device.

Using the prefers-color-scheme CSS media query, websites can be automatically displayed in dark or light theme as per the option chosen in the system's settings. prefers-color-scheme can detect whether the device is set to a dark or a light theme.

prefers-color-scheme can be queried against three values :

  • dark : This indicates that user can chosen a dark theme in their system.
  • light : This indicates that user can chosen a light theme in their system.

Depending on the current mode, specific CSS can be applied to elements.

.container {
    background-color: #336699;
    color: #333333;

/* CSS for dark mode */
@media (prefers-color-scheme: dark) {
    .container {
        background-color: #666666;
        color: white;

/* CSS for light mode */
@media (prefers-color-scheme: light) {
    .container {
        background-color: white;

Browser Compatibility

prefers-color-scheme is well supported by browsers. Currently Chrome, Firefox & Safari support it. Edge is moving to the Chromium engine from Jan 2020, so it should supported there as well.

Related Tutorials
How to Change the Theme Color of the Address Bar in Mobile Browsers
Detecting Dark Mode with Javascript
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