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Change navbar color in Twitter Bootstrap


Question

How would I go about modifying the CSS to change the color of the navbar in Twitter Bootstrap?

2018/02/22
1
721
2/22/2018 8:37:41 PM

Accepted Answer

tl;dr - TWBSColor - Generate your own Bootstrap navbar

Version notes: - Online tool: Bootstrap 3.3.2+ / 4.0.0+ - This answer: Bootstrap 3.0.x

Available navbars

You've got two basic navbars:

<!-- A light one -->
<nav class="navbar navbar-default" role="navigation"></nav>
<!-- A dark one -->
<nav class="navbar navbar-inverse" role="navigation"></nav>

Default color usage

Here are the main colors and their usage:

  • #F8F8F8: navbar background
  • #E7E7E7: navbar border
  • #777: default color
  • #333: hover color (#5E5E5E for .nav-brand)
  • #555: active color
  • #D5D5D5: active background

Default style

If you want to put some custom style, here's the CSS you need to change:

/* navbar */
.navbar-default {
    background-color: #F8F8F8;
    border-color: #E7E7E7;
}
/* Title */
.navbar-default .navbar-brand {
    color: #777;
}
.navbar-default .navbar-brand:hover,
.navbar-default .navbar-brand:focus {
    color: #5E5E5E;
}
/* Link */
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > li > a {
    color: #777;
}
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > li > a:hover,
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > li > a:focus {
    color: #333;
}
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > .active > a,
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > .active > a:hover,
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > .active > a:focus {
    color: #555;
    background-color: #E7E7E7;
}
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > .open > a,
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > .open > a:hover,
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > .open > a:focus {
    color: #555;
    background-color: #D5D5D5;
}
/* Caret */
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > .dropdown > a .caret {
    border-top-color: #777;
    border-bottom-color: #777;
}
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > .dropdown > a:hover .caret,
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > .dropdown > a:focus .caret {
    border-top-color: #333;
    border-bottom-color: #333;
}
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > .open > a .caret,
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > .open > a:hover .caret,
.navbar-default .navbar-nav > .open > a:focus .caret {
    border-top-color: #555;
    border-bottom-color: #555;
}
/* Mobile version */
.navbar-default .navbar-toggle {
    border-color: #DDD;
}
.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:hover,
.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:focus {
    background-color: #DDD;
}
.navbar-default .navbar-toggle .icon-bar {
    background-color: #CCC;
}
@media (max-width: 767px) {
    .navbar-default .navbar-nav .open .dropdown-menu > li > a {
        color: #777;
    }
    .navbar-default .navbar-nav .open .dropdown-menu > li > a:hover,
    .navbar-default .navbar-nav .open .dropdown-menu > li > a:focus {
          color: #333;
    }
}

Custom colored navbar examples

Here are four examples of a custom colored navbar:

Enter image description here

And the SCSS code:

$bgDefault   : #e74c3c;
$bgHighlight : #c0392b;
$colDefault  : #ecf0f1;
$colHighlight: #ffbbbc;
.navbar-default {
  background-color: $bgDefault;
  border-color: $bgHighlight;
  .navbar-brand {
    color: $colDefault;
    &:hover, &:focus {
      color: $colHighlight; }}
  .navbar-text {
    color: $colDefault; }
  .navbar-nav {
    > li {
      > a {
        color: $colDefault;
        &:hover,  &:focus {
          color: $colHighlight; }}}
    > .active {
      > a, > a:hover, > a:focus {
        color: $colHighlight;
        background-color: $bgHighlight; }}
    > .open {
      > a, > a:hover, > a:focus {
        color: $colHighlight;
        background-color: $bgHighlight; }}}
  .navbar-toggle {
    border-color: $bgHighlight;
    &:hover, &:focus {
      background-color: $bgHighlight; }
    .icon-bar {
      background-color: $colDefault; }}
  .navbar-collapse,
  .navbar-form {
    border-color: $colDefault; }
  .navbar-link {
    color: $colDefault;
    &:hover {
      color: $colHighlight; }}}
@media (max-width: 767px) {
  .navbar-default .navbar-nav .open .dropdown-menu {
    > li > a {
      color: $colDefault;
      &:hover, &:focus {
        color: $colHighlight; }}
    > .active {
      > a, > a:hover, > a:focus, {
        color: $colHighlight;
        background-color: $bgHighlight; }}}
}

And finally, a little gift

I've just made a script which will allow you to generate your theme: TWBSColor - Generate your own Bootstrap navbar

[Update]: TWBSColor now generates SCSS/SASS/Less/CSS code.
[Update]: From now, you can use Less as the default language provided by TWBSColor
[Update]: TWBSColor now supports drop down menus colorization
[Update]: TWBSColor now allows to choose your version (Bootstrap 4 support added)

2020/05/04
1399
5/4/2020 12:18:49 PM

Update 2020

Changing the Navbar color is different (and a little easier) in Bootstrap 4. You can create a custom navbar class, and then reference it to change the navbar without impacting other Bootstrap navs..

<nav class="navbar navbar-custom">...</nav>

Bootstrap 4.3+

The CSS required to change the Navbar is much less in Bootstrap 4...

.navbar-custom {
    background-color: #ff5500;
}
/* change the brand and text color */
.navbar-custom .navbar-brand,
.navbar-custom .navbar-text {
    color: rgba(255,255,255,.8);
}
/* change the link color */
.navbar-custom .navbar-nav .nav-link {
    color: rgba(255,255,255,.5);
}
/* change the color of active or hovered links */
.navbar-custom .nav-item.active .nav-link,
.navbar-custom .nav-item:hover .nav-link {
    color: #ffffff;
}

Bootstrap 4 Custom Navbar Demoenter image description here

Changing the active/hover link background color also works with the same CSS, but you must adjust the padding if you want the bg color to fill the full height of the link...

py-0 to remove vertical padding from the entire navbar...

<nav class="navbar navbar-expand-sm navbar-custom py-0">..</nav>

/* change the link color and padding  */
.navbar-custom .navbar-nav .nav-link {
    color: rgba(255,255,255,.5);
    padding: .75rem 1rem;
}

/* change the color and background color of active links */
.navbar-custom .nav-item.active .nav-link,
.navbar-custom .nav-item:hover .nav-link {
    color: #ffffff;
    background-color: #333;
}

Bootstrap 4 Change Link and Background Color Demo

Also see: Bootstrap 4 Change Hamburger Toggler Color


**Bootstrap 3**
<nav class="navbar navbar-custom">
  <div class="navbar-header">
    <button type="button" class="navbar-toggle" data-toggle="collapse" data-target=".navbar-collapse">...
    </button>
    <a class="navbar-brand" href="#">Title</a>
  </div>
   ...
</nav>


.navbar-custom {
    background-color:#229922;
    color:#ffffff;
    border-radius:0;
}
  
.navbar-custom .navbar-nav > li > a {
    color:#fff;
}

.navbar-custom .navbar-nav > .active > a {
    color: #ffffff;
    background-color:transparent;
}
      
.navbar-custom .navbar-nav > li > a:hover,
.navbar-custom .navbar-nav > li > a:focus,
.navbar-custom .navbar-nav > .active > a:hover,
.navbar-custom .navbar-nav > .active > a:focus,
.navbar-custom .navbar-nav > .open >a {
    text-decoration: none;
    background-color: #33aa33;
}
     
.navbar-custom .navbar-brand {
    color:#eeeeee;
}
.navbar-custom .navbar-toggle {
    background-color:#eeeeee;
}
.navbar-custom .icon-bar {
    background-color:#33aa33;
}

Custom Navbar Demo on Bootply


If the Navbar has dropdowns, add the following to change dropdown color(s):

/* for dropdowns only */
.navbar-custom .navbar-nav .dropdown-menu  { 
  background-color: #33aa33;
}
.navbar-custom .navbar-nav .dropdown-menu>li>a  { 
  color: #fff;
}
.navbar-custom .navbar-nav .dropdown-menu>li>a:hover,.navbar-custom .navbar-nav .dropdown-menu>li>a:focus  { 
  color: #33aa33;
}

Demo with Dropdown


If you want to change the theme colors all together (beyond the navbar), see this answer

2020/07/16

It took me a while, but I discovered that including the following was what made it possible to change the navbar color:

.navbar{ 
    background-image: none;
}
2014/12/04

Using Less

You could also consider to compile your own version. Try http://getbootstrap.com/customize/ (which has a apart section for the Navbars settings (Default navbar and Inverted Navbar)) or download your own copy from https://github.com/twbs/bootstrap.

You will find the navbar settings in variables.less. navbar.less is used to compile the navbar (depends on variables.less and mixins.less).

Copy the 'navbar-default section' and fill in your own color settings. Changing the variables in variables.less will be the easiest way (changing the default or inverse navbar won't be a problem because you have one navbar per page only).

You won't change all settings in most cases:

// Navbar
// -------------------------

// Basics of a navbar
@navbar-height:                    50px;
@navbar-margin-bottom:             @line-height-computed;
@navbar-default-color:             #777;
@navbar-default-bg:                #f8f8f8;
@navbar-default-border:            darken(@navbar-default-bg, 6.5%);
@navbar-border-radius:             @border-radius-base;
@navbar-padding-horizontal:        floor(@grid-gutter-width / 2);
@navbar-padding-vertical:          ((@navbar-height - @line-height-computed) / 2);

// Navbar links
@navbar-default-link-color:                #777;
@navbar-default-link-hover-color:          #333;
@navbar-default-link-hover-bg:             transparent;
@navbar-default-link-active-color:         #555;
@navbar-default-link-active-bg:            darken(@navbar-default-bg, 6.5%);
@navbar-default-link-disabled-color:       #ccc;
@navbar-default-link-disabled-bg:          transparent;

// Navbar brand label
@navbar-default-brand-color:               @navbar-default-link-color;
@navbar-default-brand-hover-color:         darken(@navbar-default-link-color, 10%);
@navbar-default-brand-hover-bg:            transparent;

// Navbar toggle
@navbar-default-toggle-hover-bg:           #ddd;
@navbar-default-toggle-icon-bar-bg:        #ccc;
@navbar-default-toggle-border-color:       #ddd;

You could also try http://twitterbootstrap3navbars.w3masters.nl/. This tool generates CSS code for your custom navbar. Optionally, you could also add gradient colors and borders to the navbar.

2017/03/29

Just add an id to the HTML navbar, such as:

<nav id="navbar-yellow" class="navbar navbar-default navbar-fixed-top" role="navigation">

With this id you can style the navbar color, but also the links and dropdowns

Examples applied to different types of navbars

Black

Yellow

Darkblue

Red (Cherry)

Darkgreen

Here is the CSS

/*
 * Black navbar style
 */
#navbar-black.navbar-default { /* #3C3C3C - #222222 */
    font-size: 14px;
    background-color: rgba(34, 34, 34, 1);
    background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, rgba(60, 60, 60, 1) 0%, rgba(34, 34, 34, 1) 100%);
    background: linear-gradient(to bottom, rgba(60, 60, 60, 1) 0%, rgba(34, 34, 34, 1) 100%);
    border: 0px;
    border-radius: 0;
}
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a:hover,
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a:focus,
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a:hover,
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a:focus,
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a,
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a:hover,
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a:focus {
    color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 1);
    background-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 1);
    background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, rgba(0, 0, 0, 1) 0%, rgba(0, 0, 0, 1) 100%);
    background: linear-gradient(to bottom, rgba(0, 0, 0, 1) 0%, rgba(0, 0, 0, 1) 100%);
}
#sidebar-black, #column-black {
      background-color: #222222;
}
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-toggle {
    border-color: #222222;
}
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:hover,
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:focus {
    background-color: #3C3C3C;
}
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a,
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a,
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-brand {
    color: #999999;
}
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-toggle .icon-bar,
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:hover .icon-bar,
#navbar-black.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:focus .icon-bar {
    background-color: #ffffff;
}

/*
 * Red navbar style
 */
#navbar-red.navbar-default { /* #990033 - #cc0033 */
    font-size: 14px;
    background-color: rgba(153, 0, 51, 1);
    background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, rgba(204, 0, 51, 1) 0%, rgba(153, 0, 51, 1) 100%);
    background: linear-gradient(to bottom, rgba(204, 0, 51, 1) 0%, rgba(153, 0, 51, 1) 100%);
    border: 0px;
    border-radius: 0;
}
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a:hover,
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a:focus,
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a:hover,
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a:focus,
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a,
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a:hover,
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a:focus {
    color: rgba(51, 51, 51, 1);
    background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 1);
    background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 0%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 100%);
    background: linear-gradient(to bottom, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 0%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 100%);
}
#sidebar-red, #column-red {
      background-color: #990033;
}
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-toggle {
    border-color: #990033;
}
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:hover,
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:focus {
    background-color: #cc0033;
}
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a,
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a,
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-brand {
    color: #999999;
}
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-toggle .icon-bar,
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:hover .icon-bar,
#navbar-red.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:focus .icon-bar {
    background-color: #ffffff;
}

/*
 * Darkblue navbar style
 */
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default { /* #003399 - #0033cc */
    font-size: 14px;
    background-color: rgba(51, 51, 153, 1);
    background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, rgba(51, 51, 204, 1) 0%, rgba(51, 51, 153, 1) 100%);
    background: linear-gradient(to bottom, rgba(51, 51, 204, 1) 0%, rgba(51, 51, 153, 1) 100%);
    border: 0px;
    border-radius: 0;
}
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a:hover,
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a:focus,
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a:hover,
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a:focus,
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a,
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a:hover,
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a:focus {
    color: rgba(51, 51, 51, 1);
    background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 1);
    background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 0%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 100%);
    background: linear-gradient(to bottom, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 0%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 100%);
}
#sidebar-darkblue, #column-darkblue {
    background-color: #333399;
}
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-toggle {
    border-color: #333399;
}
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:hover,
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:focus {
    background-color: #3333cc;
}
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a,
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a,
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-brand {
    color: #999999;
}
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-toggle .icon-bar,
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:hover .icon-bar,
#navbar-darkblue.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:focus .icon-bar {
    background-color: #ffffff;
}

/*
 * Darkgreen navbar style
 */
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default { /* #006633 - #009933 */
    font-size: 14px;
    background-color: rgba(0, 102, 51, 1);
    background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, rgba(0, 153, 51, 1) 0%, rgba(0, 102, 51, 1) 100%);
    background: linear-gradient(to bottom, rgba(0, 153, 51, 1) 0%, rgba(0, 102, 51, 1) 100%);
    border: 0px;
    border-radius: 0;
}
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a:hover,
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a:focus,
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a:hover,
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a:focus,
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a,
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a:hover,
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a:focus {
    color: rgba(51, 51, 51, 1);
    background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 1);
    background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 0%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 100%);
    background: linear-gradient(to bottom, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 0%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 100%);
}
#sidebar-darkgreen, #column-darkgreen {
    background-color: #006633;
}
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-toggle {
    border-color: #006633;
}
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:hover,
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:focus {
    background-color: #009933;
}
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a,
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a,
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-brand {
    color: #999999;
}
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-toggle .icon-bar,
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:hover .icon-bar,
#navbar-darkgreen.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:focus .icon-bar {
    background-color: #ffffff;
}

/*
 * Yellow navbar style
 */
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default { /* #99ff00 - #ccff00 */
    font-size: 14px;
    background-color: rgba(153, 255, 0, 1);
    background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, rgba(204, 255, 0, 1) 0%, rgba(153, 255, 0, 1) 100%);
    background: linear-gradient(to bottom, rgba(204, 255, 0, 1) 0%, rgba(153, 255, 0, 1) 100%);
    border: 0px;
    border-radius: 0;
}
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a:hover,
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a:focus,
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a:hover,
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a:focus,
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a,
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a:hover,
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-nav>.active>a:focus {
    color: rgba(51, 51, 51, 1);
    background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 1);
    background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 0%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 100%);
    background: linear-gradient(to bottom, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 0%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 1) 100%);
}
#sidebar-yellow, #column-yellow {
    background-color: #99ff00;
}
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-toggle {
    border-color: #99ff00;
}
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:hover,
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:focus {
    background-color: #ccff00;
}
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>a,
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-nav>li>ul>li>a,
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-brand {
    color: #999999;
}
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-toggle .icon-bar,
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:hover .icon-bar,
#navbar-yellow.navbar-default .navbar-toggle:focus .icon-bar {
    background-color: #ffffff;
}
2019/07/03

Do you have to change the CSS directly? What about...

<nav class="navbar navbar-inverse" style="background-color: #333399;">
<div class="container-fluid">
<div class="navbar-header">
  <button type="button" class="navbar-toggle" data-toggle="collapse" data-target="#myNavbar">
    <span class="icon-bar"></span>
    <span class="icon-bar"></span>
    <span class="icon-bar"></span>                        
  </button>
  <a class="navbar-brand" href="#">Logo</a>
</div>
<div class="collapse navbar-collapse" id="myNavbar">
  <ul class="nav navbar-nav">
    <li class="active"><a href="#">Home</a></li>
    <li><a href="#">About</a></li>
    <li><a href="#">Projects</a></li>
    <li><a href="#">Contact</a></li>
  </ul>
  <ul class="nav navbar-nav navbar-right">
    <li><a href="#"><span class="glyphicon glyphicon-log-in"></span> Login</a></li>
  </ul>
</div>

2016/09/21