Toji Toji - 5 months ago 22
CSS Question

CSS 100% height with padding/margin

This has been driving me crazy for a couple of days now, but in reality it's a problem that I've hit off and on for the last few years: With HTML/CSS how can I make an element that has a width and/or height that is 100% of it's parent element and still has proper padding or margins?

By "proper" I mean that if my parent element is 200px tall and I specify 100% height with 5px padding I would expect that I should get a 190px high element with 5px "border" on all sides, nicely centered in the parent element.

Now, I know that that's not how the standard box model specifies it should work (although I'd like to know why, exactly...), so the obvious answer doesn't work:

#myDiv {
width: 100%
height: 100%;
padding: 5px;

But it would seem to me that there must be SOME way of reliably producing this effect for a parent of arbitrary size. Does anyone know of a way of accomplishing this (seemingly simple) task?

Oh, and for the record I'm not terribly interested in IE compatibility so that should (hopefully) make things a bit easier.

EDIT: Since an example was asked for, here's the simplest one I can think of:

<html style="height: 100%">
<body style="height: 100%">
<div style="background-color: black; height: 100%; padding: 25px"></div>

The challenge is then to get the black box to show up with a 25 pixel padding on all edges without the page growing big enough to require scrollbars.


I learned how to do these sort of things reading "PRO HTML and CSS Design Patterns". The display:block is the default display value for the div, but I like to make it explicit. The container has to be the right type; position attribute is fixed, relative, or absolute.

.stretchedToMargin {
  display: block;
  background-color: green;
<div class="stretchedToMargin">
  Hello, world

Fiddle by Nooshu's comment