All HTML elements are basically boxes.

In CSS, the term “box model” is used when talking about design and layout.

The CSS box model is essentially a box that wraps around every HTML element. It consists of: margins, borders, padding, and the actual content. The image below illustrates the box model:

simple diagram of the CSS box model

Explanation of the different parts:

  • Content – The content of the box, where text and images appear
  • Padding – Clears an area around the content. The padding is transparent
  • Border – A border that goes around the padding and content
  • Margin – Clears an area outside the border. The margin is transparent

The box model allows us to add a border around elements, and to define space between elements.

(text adapted from