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CSS Box Model

The CSS Box Model is a fundamental concept in web design that describes how CSS styles, such as padding, borders, and margins, are applied to elements. These aspects determine how much space an element will take up on a page and how it interacts with surrounding elements. By mastering the Box Model, you can create well-structured and visually pleasing designs.

The Parts of the Model

The CSS Box Model comprises four main components: content, padding, border, and margin. Each of these parts plays a unique role in defining the structure and layout of HTML elements.

div {
content: 50px;
padding: 10px;
border: 5px solid black;
margin: 15px;

In this CSS code snippet, div elements will have a content area of 50px. Around this content, there is 10px of padding, a 5px border, and a 15px margin. The total width of the div would be calculated as the sum of all these properties.


Padding is the space that exists between an element's content and its border. This extra space can be used to give the content more room to breathe and stand out from its border.

p {
padding: 20px;

This code applies a 20px padding around the content of all paragraph <p> elements. The padding increases the total width and height of the element but doesn't affect the size of the content area itself. Understanding padding is important to give your content the necessary space to increase readability.


The border is the outline that encases the padding and content of an element. It visually separates different elements from one another.

div {
border: 2px solid red;

In this example, a 2px solid red border is applied to all div elements. The border surrounds the content and padding, providing a visual boundary for the element. Borders are crucial for defining and separating elements on a page.


Margin is the space outside the border. It separates the element from other elements on the page.

h1 {
margin: 30px;

This code applies a 30px margin around all <h1> elements. The margin doesn't add to the size of the element itself, but it does push other elements away, creating space around the element. Proper use of margins can help to organize elements neatly on a page.

Width and Height

The width and height properties in the CSS Box Model define the width and height of the content area of an element. However, remember that the actual space taken by the element on a page is more than its width and height due to the padding, border, and margin.

img {
width: 300px;
height: 200px;

In this example, an <img> element's content area is explicitly set to be 300px wide and 200px high. But keep in mind that any padding, border, or margin will add to the total space taken by this element on the page. Hence, it's crucial to account for these properties when designing the layout of your page.

By understanding the CSS Box Model, you'll gain more control over element layout and spacing. If you are new to CSS or want to revisit the basics, check out our introduction to CSS. And for more in-depth knowledge on how to target these elements effectively, refer to our guide on CSS selectors.