10 React Styling Best Practices

If you're working with React, you'll want to make sure you're following these best practices for styling your components.

React is a popular JavaScript library for building user interfaces. When it comes to styling React components, there are a few different options. In this article, we’ll discuss 10 React styling best practices to help you make the most of this powerful tool.

1. Use CSS-in-JS

When you use CSS-in-JS, your styles are scoped to the component they’re defined in. This means that you don’t have to worry about naming collisions with other class names in your app.

CSS-in-JS also makes it easy to dynamically style components based on props or state. For example, you could change the color of a button based on whether it’s active or not.

Finally, CSS-in-JS libraries often come with built-in features like autoprefixing and minification, which can save you time and effort.

2. Keep your stylesheet small and modular

When your stylesheet is small, it’s easier to find the style you’re looking for. This is especially true when you’re working with a team of developers, as everyone will be able to quickly locate the styles they need without having to search through a large, unorganized file.

Modular stylesheets are also easier to maintain, as you can make changes to one module without affecting the rest of the stylesheet. This helps to prevent errors and makes it simpler to update your stylesheet as your project evolves.

3. Avoid using IDs in your selectors

When you use an ID in a selector, you’re making that style specific to one element on the page. This can cause problems if you ever need to reuse that same style elsewhere, because you’ll have to duplicate the code or find a way to override it.

Classes, on the other hand, can be reused as many times as you need. They’re also more specific than just using an element type selector, so you can be confident that your styles will only apply to the elements you want them to.

If you do need to use an ID for some reason, make sure to namespace it so it’s specific to your component and won’t conflict with any other IDs on the page.

4. Don’t nest too deep

The main reason is that it’s easy to lose track of where your styles are coming from when you have too many nested selectors. This can lead to specificity issues, which are hard to debug and can make your code harder to maintain.

It’s also important to keep in mind that every time you nest an element, you’re increasing the size of your CSS file. So if you have a lot of nesting, your CSS file can get quite large, which can impact performance.

Finally, it’s generally considered best practice to keep your CSS flat. That means using as few nested selectors as possible.

So what’s the bottom line? When it comes to React styling, less is more. Keep your selectors flat and don’t nest too deep.

5. Prefer class names over element or attribute selectors

When you use class names, you’re able to take advantage of the benefits of CSS Modules. CSS Modules is a tool that allows you to write your CSS in a way that’s scoped to your component. This means that you don’t have to worry about naming collisions with other class names on the page, and you can be confident that your styles will only apply to your component.

Additionally, class names are more specific than element or attribute selectors, so they’re less likely to cause unexpected side effects. And if you do need to override a style from a parent component, you can use the !important rule.

Finally, class names are more maintainable in the long run because they’re easier to change than element or attribute selectors. For example, if you need to rename a class name, you can do so without having to update every instance of that class name in your codebase.

6. Split vendor prefixes from the main declaration

Vendor prefixes are a way for browser makers to add new CSS features that may not be yet supported by all browsers. For example, the -webkit- vendor prefix is used by Safari and Chrome, while -moz- is used by Firefox.

When vendor prefixes are added to a CSS declaration, they make the declaration longer and more difficult to read. By splitting them out into separate declarations, you can make your code more readable and easier to maintain.

7. Use a naming convention

When working on a large project with many team members, it’s important to have a consistent naming convention for class names. This helps to prevent name collisions and makes the code easier to read and understand.

There are many different naming conventions out there, but one of the most popular is BEM (Block-Element-Modifier). In this naming convention, class names are made up of three parts:

1. The block: This is the highest-level element in the component, and it corresponds to the component name. For example, in a Button component, the block would be “button”.

2. The element: This is a child element within the component. For example, in a Button component, an element might be “button__label” or “button__icon”.

3. The modifier: This is used to modify the style of an element. For example, in a Button component, a modifier might be “button–primary” or “button–disabled”.

Using a consistent naming convention like BEM makes it easy to identify the purpose of each class name, and it also makes the code more maintainable in the long run.

8. Write media queries mobile first

When you start with the mobile styles first, it’s easier to add styles for larger screens later on. You can use a mobile-first approach even if you’re not starting with a mobile app. For example, if you’re creating a website that will eventually be used as an app, you can still start by writing media queries for mobile devices.

The main benefit of this approach is that it helps you avoid having to write media queries for every single breakpoint. Instead, you can focus on the most important breakpoints and then add additional breakpoints as needed.

This approach also makes it easier to test your styles on different devices. When you’re starting with mobile styles, you can test on a variety of devices to make sure your styles look good on all of them. Then, when you add styles for larger screens, you can be confident that they’ll work well on all devices.

9. Organize your code with comments

When your codebase starts to grow, it can become difficult to keep track of all the different styles you have. This is especially true if you’re working on a team where multiple people are responsible for different parts of the code.

Organizing your code with comments will help you and your team keep track of the different styles you have, and where they’re located. It’ll also make it easier to find specific styles when you need to make changes.

Here’s an example of how you might organize your React styles with comments:


Global Styles


// These are the global styles that will be applied to every component

import { createGlobalStyle } from ‘styled-components’;

const GlobalStyle = createGlobalStyle`


body {

margin: 0;

padding: 0;



export default GlobalStyle;


Component Styles


// These are the styles for specific components

import styled from ‘styled-components’;

const Button = styled.button`

background-color: #fff;

border: 1px solid #000;

color: #000;

cursor: pointer;

font-size: 16px;

padding: 10px;


export default Button;

10. Use linting tools to enforce style rules

Linting tools can help you avoid potential errors in your code, and they can also enforce consistent coding conventions across a team. This is especially important for React projects, because React’s inline styles are JavaScript objects, which means they can be prone to syntax errors.

There are many different linting tools available, but one of the most popular is stylelint. Stylelint can be configured to enforce a wide variety of rules, including rules for naming conventions, indentation, spacing, and more.

If you’re not already using a linting tool, we recommend adding stylelint to your project. Not only will it help you avoid potential errors, but it will also make it easier for others to understand and work with your code.


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