Styling Made Easy: Exploring the Magic of Tailwind CSS and Next.js Integration

As a web developer, you know that styling can be a time-consuming and tedious process. While CSS is essential for creating beautiful and functional websites, it can also be overwhelming and frustrating, especially when trying to balance layout, typography, and responsiveness. That's where Tailwind CSS comes in. This utility-first CSS framework allows you to streamline your styling process, making it easier and faster to build stunning websites. And when it's combined with Next.js, a popular and powerful React framework, the results are truly magical.

What is Tailwind CSS?

Tailwind CSS is a utility-first CSS framework that makes it simple to design your user interfaces by composing reusable utilities rather than writing custom CSS. Instead of designing from scratch or using pre-designed templates, you can use Tailwind's comprehensive set of CSS classes that help you create consistent, responsive, and highly customizable designs.

Here's an example. Say you want to create a button. You need to define the font-size, padding, background color, hover effects, and more. This typically requires multiple CSS rules. With Tailwind, you simply add the appropriate classes to your HTML element, like this:

<button class="bg-blue-500 hover:bg-blue-700 text-white font-bold py-2 px-4 rounded">Button</button>

That's it! With just one line of code, you get a fully functional and responsive button.

Why use Tailwind with Next.js?

While Tailwind CSS is powerful and versatile on its own, it truly shines when used with a powerful framework like Next.js. Next.js is a popular framework that makes it easy to build server-rendered React applications with automatic optimizations and code splitting. By combining Next.js and Tailwind CSS, you can take your web development process to the next level by:

  • Increasing development speed: With Tailwind, you don't have to worry about designing everything from scratch. You can simply use pre-made classes, reducing the need for custom CSS. Plus, Next.js's hot reloading feature allows you to see changes instantly, making it easier to experiment and iterate.
  • Improving code organization: With Tailwind, you can easily group related classes together in a CSS file or component, reducing clutter and making your code more readable. And, with Next.js, you can create reusable components that encapsulate both styling and functionality, making it easier to maintain and scale your application.
  • Ensuring consistency: With Tailwind, you can ensure consistency across your website by using pre-defined styles. This makes it easier to maintain a cohesive look and feel throughout your site.
  • Creating responsive designs: With Tailwind, you can easily create responsive designs without having to write a ton of media queries. Simply adjust your classes based on screen size and you're good to go. And, with Next.js's automatic code splitting, you can ensure that your website loads quickly, even on slower connections.

How to Use Tailwind CSS with Next.js

Integrating Tailwind CSS with Next.js is a breeze. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Install tailwindcss and autoprefixer as dev-dependencies

First, install Tailwind CSS and Autoprefixer as dev-dependencies:

npm install tailwindcss autoprefixer --save-dev

Step 2: Create a new configuration file

Next, create a new configuration file, usually called tailwind.config.js, that will define your Tailwind CSS classes. It should look something like this:

module.exports = {
  mode: 'jit',
  purge: ['./src/pages/**/*.{js,ts,jsx,tsx}', './src/components/**/*.{js,ts,jsx,tsx}'],
  darkMode: false,
  theme: {
    extend: {},
  variants: {
    extend: {},
  plugins: [],

Here's what each property does:

  • mode: 'jit': This enables Just-In-Time (JIT) mode, which improves the performance of Tailwind's compilation process.
  • purge: [...]: This tells Tailwind which files to look at when purging unused styles. Here, we're telling it to look in all jsx and tsx files in our /src/pages and /src/components directories.
  • darkMode: false: This sets the default dark mode to off. You can change this to 'media' or 'class' if you want to provide custom dark mode implementations.
  • theme: { extend: {} }: This is where you can customize your design by extending the default theme. Here, we're leaving it empty.
  • variants: { extend: {} }: This is where you can customize your classes by extending or overriding the default variants. Again, we're leaving it empty.
  • plugins: []: This is where you can enable or disable any of the available plugins. We're not using any plugins in this example.

Step 3: Create your CSS file

Now you can create your CSS file. Typically, this is called styles.css. Here's an example:

@tailwind base;
@tailwind components;
@tailwind utilities;

This is where you can customize your classes by editing the generated CSS. You can also add your own custom styles here.

Step 4: Import your CSS file

Finally, you need to import your CSS file. You can do this in your _app.js file. Here's an example:

import '../styles.css'

function MyApp({ Component, pageProps }) {
  return <Component {...pageProps} />

export default MyApp

That's it! Now you can start using Tailwind classes in your Next.js components.


Here are a couple of examples of how you can use Tailwind CSS with Next.js:

Example 1: Creating a responsive navbar

First, let's create a simple navbar component. Here's the code:

import Link from 'next/link'

function Navbar() {
  return (
    <nav class="bg-gray-800">
      <div class="max-w-7xl mx-auto px-2 sm:px-6 lg:px-8">
        <div class="relative flex items-center justify-between h-16">
          <div class="flex-1 flex items-center justify-center sm:items-stretch sm:justify-start">
            <Link href="/" class="text-white font-bold text-xl">
              Modern CSS
            <div class="hidden sm:block sm:ml-6">
              <div class="flex space-x-4">
                <Link href="/articles">
                  <a class="text-gray-300 hover:bg-gray-700 hover:text-white px-3 py-2 rounded-md text-sm font-medium">
                <Link href="/about">
                  <a class="text-gray-300 hover:bg-gray-700 hover:text-white px-3 py-2 rounded-md text-sm font-medium">

export default Navbar

Here, we're using a combination of Tailwind classes and Next.js's built-in Link component to create a responsive navbar. The max-w-7xl mx-auto px-2 sm:px-6 lg:px-8 class sets the maximum width of the navbar and centers it on larger screens. The flex-1 flex items-center justify-center sm:items-stretch sm:justify-start class sets the navbar to stretch across the full width of the screen on smaller screens. And the hidden sm:block sm:ml-6 class hides the links on smaller screens and displays them as a horizontal list on larger screens.

Example 2: Creating a card component

Next, let's create a card component. Here's the code:

function Card({ title, description, image }) {
  return (
    <div class="max-w-lg mx-auto shadow-md bg-white rounded-lg overflow-hidden">
      <img class="w-full h-48 object-cover object-top" src={image} alt={title} />
      <div class="p-6">
        <h2 class="text-2xl font-bold text-gray-800 mb-2">{title}</h2>
        <p class="text-gray-700 leading-tight mb-4">{description}</p>
        <a href="#" class="bg-gray-800 text-white px-4 py-2 rounded-lg">
          Read more

export default Card

Here, we're using a combination of Tailwind classes to create a simple card component. The max-w-lg mx-auto shadow-md bg-white rounded-lg overflow-hidden class sets the width and height of the card, as well as its shadow and background color. The text-2xl font-bold text-gray-800 mb-2 class sets the title's font size, weight, and color, as well as its bottom margin. The text-gray-700 leading-tight mb-4 class sets the description's color and line height, as well as its bottom margin. And the bg-gray-800 text-white px-4 py-2 rounded-lg class sets the button's background color, text color, padding, and border radius.


By combining Tailwind CSS with Next.js, you can simplify and speed up your web development process, allowing you to focus more on functionality and user experience, rather than styling and layout. With Tailwind's comprehensive set of classes and Next.js's powerful framework, the possibilities are truly endless. So what are you waiting for? Start exploring the magic of Tailwind CSS and Next.js integration today!