Dark mode with CSS variables

In this article, I will show you how I use CSS variables to implement light and dark mode in my projects.

I use two classes on the html tag: .light and .dark. By default, I add the .light class to the html tag. If I have access to the source code, I add the class directly in the html file or I add it via JS.

document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded", () => {

The magic happens in CSS. In the .light and .dark classes, I define the colors that I will use in the project.

.light {
  --primary: #000;
  --secondary: #fff;
  --accent: #e91e63;

.dark {
  --primary: #fff;
  --secondary: #000;
  --accent: #e91e63;

For this example, I am using the following HTML code.

<h1>Dark mode</h1>

<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipisicing elit. Accusamus eveniet laboriosam labore quae modi minus sapiente excepturi architecto asperiores quidem, totam a ex ullam quam molestiae tempora reprehenderit delectus iusto!</p>

<button>Light / Dark</button>

Then, I style the elements using only the CSS variables for my colors. Using this method, I don't have to rewrite multiple CSS declarations to set colors in light and dark themes, the same block handles both cases.

button {
  background-color: var(--accent);
  color: var(--primary);

body {
  background-color: var(--secondary);
  color: var(--primary);

We are nearly there. Now, I will add the JS code to toggle the class on the html tag to change between light and dark. On the button click, the page will change from light theme to dark theme.

document.querySelector("button").addEventListener("click", () => {

Using this method, I have successfully implemented dark mode toggle on my website. You can find a demo on Codepen.

Photo used in social media banner by Kilarov Zaneit on Unsplash.