Skip to Content

How to darken background image Bootstrap 5?


Bootstrap 5, the most recent version of the popular Bootstrap framework, provides several ways to create visually appealing web pages and applications. One common task is darkening a background image to make overlaid text more readable. With Bootstrap 5’s utility classes and CSS, you can easily darken background images with just a few lines of code.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover multiple techniques to darken Bootstrap background images, including using:

  • Opacity utilities
  • Linear gradients
  • Blend modes
  • CSS filters

You’ll get reusable code snippets and examples for darkening background images in common Bootstrap scenarios like jumbotrons, sections, and headers. Let’s get started!


Before diving into the code, there are a few prerequisites to cover:

  • Basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and Bootstrap.
  • Bootstrap 5 installed on your project. You can include via CDN:
<link href="[email protected]/dist/css/bootstrap.min.css" rel="stylesheet" integrity="sha384-1BmE4kWBq78iYhFldvKuhfTAU6auU8tT94WrHftjDbrCEXSU1oBoqyl2QvZ6jIW3" crossorigin="anonymous">
  • A background image you want to darken. JPG, PNG, or SVG formats.

With those basics covered, let’s look at darkening images with opacity first.

Darken with Opacity Utility

The easiest way to darken an image in Bootstrap is to apply an opacity utility class. Opacity adjusts the transparency level of an element, making the background image appear darker.

Bootstrap 5 has opacity utility classes from .opacity-100 (no transparency) to .opacity-0 (full transparency). Darkening a background image involves applying one of the low opacity classes like .opacity-75, .opacity-50, or .opacity-25.

Here is an example darkening a Bootstrap jumbotron background image with .opacity-50:

<div class="jumbotron" style="background-image: url('bg-image.jpg');">

  <div class="container opacity-50">
    <h1 class="display-4">Hello, world!</h1>
    <p class="lead">This jumbotron has a darkened background image.</p>
    <hr class="my-4">


The .opacity-50 class lowers the opacity to 50%, darkening the background image to improve readability of text.

You can adjust the opacity level as needed – higher for subtle darkening or lower for a bigger contrast effect. Opacity utilities are the simplest way to quickly darken a background image in Bootstrap.


Opacity utilities have a few advantages:

  • Easy to implement – just add a utility class.
  • Responsive by default.
  • Adjustable opacity levels.


The disadvantages to watch for:

  • Darkens the entire element, including child elements.
  • Doesn’t work well with semi-transparent images.
  • Less control than gradients or filters.

Opacity utilities are great for simple, quick darkening of background images. For more customizable effects, let’s look at using linear gradients next.

Darken with Linear Gradient

Linear gradients allow you to transition smoothly from one color to another. To darken backgrounds, you can overlay a linear gradient fading to black on top of the image.

Here is an example gradient darkening a Bootstrap section background:

<section style="background: 
      rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.5), 
      rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.5)
   background-size: cover;">

  <div class="container">
    <h2>Darkened with Gradient</h2>


This linear gradient fades from rgba(0,0,0,0.5) (50% opaque black) to rgba(0,0,0,0.5) (50% opaque black). Combined with the background image, this darkens the image at a 50% intensity across the entire element.

You can adjust the gradient stops to control how much darkening is applied. For example, change the start color to rgba(0,0,0,0.25) for 25% darkening.


Compared to standard opacity, linear gradients have a few advantages:

  • More control over darkening amount.
  • Darken background but not child elements.
  • Darken semi-transparent images better.


Some disadvantages to consider:

  • More complex syntax than standard opacity.
  • Requires fallbacks for older browsers.

Overall, linear gradients give you finer control over how background images are darkened in Bootstrap. Next let’s see how we can use blend modes for darkening.

Darken with Blend Modes

CSS blend modes allow you to blend elements together based on different image mixing algorithms. We can use blend modes to selectively darken the background image while leaving child elements unchanged.

Here is an example using the multiply blend mode:

<div class="bg-image" style="background-image: url('bg-image.jpg'); 
   background-blend-mode: multiply; 
   background-color: rgba(0,0,0,0.5);">

  <div class="container">
    <h2>Darkened with Blend Mode</h2>


The multiply blend mode combines the RGB values of the background image and background color to darken the image. The rgba(0,0,0,0.5) background color overlays and darkens without affecting child elements.

You can adjust the rgba background color to control the darkening amount. Other blend modes like overlay and color burn also work for darkening.


Blend modes have a few benefits:

  • Darkens background but not text/child elements.
  • Works on semi-transparent images.
  • More control than opacity utilities.


Some downsides to consider:

  • Limited browser support requires fallbacks.
  • More complex than standard opacity.

For greater browser coverage, we can also darken images using CSS filters.

Darken with CSS Filters

CSS filters provide image effects like blur, contrast, saturation, etc. We can use the brightness and contrast filters to darken background images.

Here is an example using a brightness filter:

<div class="bg-image" style="background-image: url('bg-image.jpg');
   filter: brightness(70%);">

  <div class="container">
    <h2>Darkened with Filter</h2>


The brightness filter reduces the brightness to 70%, darkening the image. You can reduce it further to 50% or less for more darkening.

You can also try the contrast filter:

filter: contrast(80%);
Lower contrast percentages darken images. Mix and match brightness and contrast for customized darkening.


CSS filters have some advantages:

  • Darkens only background, not children.
  • Works on semi-transparent images.
  • Good browser support.


Some drawbacks to filters:

  • More complex syntax than standard opacity.
  • Less customizable than gradients.

Filters provide an easy way to customize image darkening with excellent browser support.


We've covered several techniques to darken background images in Bootstrap, including:

  • Opacity - Apply .opacity-xx utility classes for quick darkening.
  • Gradients - Overlay linear gradients fading to black.
  • Blend Modes - Multiply, overlay, etc. darken backgrounds.
  • Filters - brightness, contrast and other filters.

Each approach has advantages and disadvantages. Here are some quick recommendations on when to use each technique:

  • Use opacity utilities for simple, quick darkening without much customization needed.
  • Gradients provide finer control over the amount and direction of darkening.
  • Blend modes work great for darkening while keeping child elements readable.
  • Filters offer custom image effects with wide browser support.

The key is choosing the right technique for your specific background image and darkening needs.

We've highlighted code examples for darkening Bootstrap components like jumbotrons, sections, and headers. You can apply these examples to any Bootstrap background image.

Some final tips when darkening background images:

  • Test different opacity levels, gradients, and filters until you achieve the desired effect.
  • Make sure any overlaid text remains readable.
  • Watch loading file size - overly complex effects can slow page loads.
  • Check mobile friendliness - darkening often needs adjusting for smaller screens.

Darkening your background images helps draw attention to overlaid content and improves readability. With Bootstrap's utilities and CSS, you can quickly implement these techniques for beautiful, effective web pages.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about darkening background images in Bootstrap:

What's the easiest way to darken a background image in Bootstrap?

The easiest way is using the .opacity-xx utility classes. For example, .opacity-75 will darken the image to 75% opacity.

How do I darken a background image gradually?

Use a linear gradient fading to black to apply a gradual darkening effect. You can control the gradient stops to customize the transition.

How can I darken the image but not any text or content on top?

Use blend modes like multiply or overlay - these will darken only the background image layer. CSS filters will also avoid darkening child elements.

What's the best way to darken images in Bootstrap jumbotrons?

Jumbotrons commonly need background image darkening. Try using .opacity-75 or .opacity-50 utilities on the inner .container for quick darkening.

How do I make darkened backgrounds responsive in Bootstrap?

Bootstrap utilities and CSS are responsive by default. Just make sure to use responsive image techniques for your backgrounds.


Darkening background images is a popular web design technique to help make overlaid text stand out. With Bootstrap's utility classes, CSS gradients, blend modes, and filters you have multiple options to darken backgrounds.

The key is picking the right technique for your specific needs, whether that's quick and simple darkening with opacities or advanced control with blend modes. Combine these solutions with Bootstrap's responsive grid and components for beautiful, polished pages with readable content on top of darkened backgrounds.

So give your website backgrounds visual pop while keeping text easy to read. Darken those background images with these CSS techniques in Bootstrap 5!