CSS Margin vs. Padding: What’s the Difference?

Margin vs padding, two HTML tags that add extra space around an elements, This blog will help you get a basic understanding of both

Techestudio Editors 5 months ago 0 106
New to website designing? Can not comprehend padding vs margin CSS? Do not worry! This blog will help you get a basic understanding of both. Margin and padding are two HTML tags that add extra space around an element for styling purposes. But what’s the difference between margin and padding? And, how do they both work with otherelements? You can make better design decisions for your website once you fully understand the difference between margins and padding.

 CSS Margins

Margin is an extra space that is added outside an element. It creates a distance between components. On a page, margins can move an element left, right, up, and down. The margin has no background color and is entirely transparent. The width and height of the margin are measured in percentages (%). You can adjust the margin size for each side of the elements separately. The margin pushes adjacent items away to create a space.

CSS Padding

Padding is the space between the element and the content contained within it. Padding is calculated in pixels. It is not transparent, and the background color can be affected by padding. It either increases the element size or decreases the content inside to create space.

 CSS Margin vs. Padding:

So one term can be used to describe both “outside” and “inside,” but not individually. Margin works only with elements, while padding works only with tags (specifically content tagged with a <p> tag). Elements with margin and padding attributes include DIVs, SPANs, Ps, and IMGs. You can use padding for both decorative and functional purposes. Margin can only be used for decorative purposes. The padding property controls the space inside an element, whereas the margin property holds the space outside an element.


Let us see it like that. If we create two boxes, one inside another, using HTML and CSS. Both boxes would have default margins and padding. Adding a margin up to 10 px in an inner box would automatically create a space around the inner box. Directly, this would result in increasing the size of the outer box. Similarly, if we add padding to the inner box, the space would be added inside and outside its borders. The padding would expand the size of the inner box. If we delete all of the borders of boxes, “margin” and “padding” would function very likewise. They both would show space between the content within the div and the content surrounding the div. When padding and margin are combined, they add up to the total value of space added. For example, if you set an element’s margin-left and padding-right to 5px, then the element’s left side is adjacent to another element (or is touching) by 5 pixels, and its right side has 10 pixels of space added around it. Add together both values of 5px and 10 px, and get 15 px.

 When should you use HTML Margin vs. Padding CSS?

Generally, you use a margin when you want to add space to an element. This can be for decorative purposes such as a logo, to make text wrap around an object, or to create space between two images. Padding is used for functional purposes such as creating space within structural tags (such as <p> ) for added emphasis or adding a line of spacing around an image so that items don’t appear to be moving when they change position on the page. If you need both decoration and functionality, then use margin with padding. This can make your page easier to read and could even make your page more understandable to search engines. For Example: If you want a decorative margin on the left side of an element, such as a logo or some alignment text, you can use padding-left instead of margin-left, which will add space without preventing other elements from wrapping around it. You can also use a negative margin. This allows you to move the element closer to its top or left neighbor element or its right and bottom neighbor element. But mostly programmers prohibit to use it. Whereas, you cannot use a negative value in padding.


To wrap up, the following table would make comprehending the difference between margin and padding easier.



It is the outer space of an outer element. It controls the inner space of an inner element.
Margin can be of negative value Padding cannot be negative.
Margin does not affect the styling, position, and background of an element. Padding affects and can change the position of elements, background, and style.
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