Finding Background Patterns

January 5th, 2012
Blog Templates Blog Skins Blog Themes

One of the easiest things that you could do to customize your blog, besides change your header image, would be to change your background image. Sure, you could just set a background color, but why not bring in some texture?

Using full images can be problematic, as for the most part they will not conform to the size of everyone’s screen. Viewers with smaller screens will only see part of the image, and viewers with larger screens will see the image surrounded by white space. Even if you could get the image to stretch for larger screens, it would be distorted and pixellated, and this is where patterns come in.

In a sense, a pattern is a small image file which can be tiled seamlessly, thus adapting to any screen size. In WordPress, you can do this by uploading a small pattern image at Appearance -> Backgrounds in your Dashboard and choosing the “Tile” option under the Repeat section.

I did some digging earlier today for a personal project and found some great free patterns at Subtle Patterns and Background Labs, along with two great pattern builders at Pattern Cooler and BgPatterns. You could also build a simple noise-based background pattern in most photo editors by just dropping a noise texture into a small square with your desired color.

If you have ventured out on the hunt for background patterns before, we’d love to know which resources you prefer.




  1. Dippin Slash (1 comments.) says:

    For backgrounds, Subtle Patterns and BG Patterns never fail me.

  2. BirchWind (1 comments.) says:

    These sites are great, thanks. I especially like BG Patterns. I’ve searched alot online and so many of the free background sites are very ‘Windows 95′ looking with some rather cheesy images. Another site which you might want to suggest is Webtreats. I’ve found some great quality background images as well as brushes, icons and themes.

  3. Robert says:

    I’ve been making my own for years (over 700 so far.)

  4. Margaret (1 comments.) says:

    Those are some great background sites! Especially the Subtle Patterns one. I find the Pattern Cooler backgrounds a little noisy and distracting though. It’s very important to remember when using background images on your websites that you don’t let the background image distract from your page content.

    It is also usually a good idea to prevent your background pattern from being displayed behind your site’s text because it can impair readability and put people off reading your site. On my own sites I always make sure the background of the page body’s text area remains white or similar. I hope this helps someone.

    You can see an example of what I mean on my new site at The background image is subtle and dark keeping the focus on my site’s text which maintains a white background for readability.

  5. Felipe Sparks (2 comments.) says:

    I am worried about impeding the viewer’s ability to read an article. I am not stating that you’re wrong. But do the readers really care about a background image within the blog text box? The layout of the website should be easy to navigate and draw in a viewer. But I’m not sure why the text itself should be decorated with a background. I ask this because I am trying to start a blog myself here at warrior. There is nothing there yet. So I’m looking for advice. Thanks for the article!

  6. bisk (1 comments.) says:

    I usually make my own in photoshop, it’s not that difficult. But bgpatterns is nice to play with though.

  7. JT Carter (1 comments.) says:

    This is going to be a lifesaver. Whenever I have a quick website I need to grind out, this will save lots of time.

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