How to create and use themes in Tamagui.

Themes in Tamagui are powerful because they can compose off each other nicely. They are meant to be fairly small, with tokens doing much of the heavy lifting. Think of tokens as your base variables which can be shared downwards to themes. Themes meanwhile are meant to be concise, we typically define 10-15 or so "common" theme properties that let us then style the rest of our app - things like color1, color2, bg1, and bg2. We also have a set of light and dark colors, which we define onto their respective dark and light base themes. Tamagui lets you access themes and tokens both in the same way. Let's start with an example of inline styling with a subset of the configuration:
import { createTokens, createTamagui, YStack, Theme } from 'tamagui'
const tokens = createTokens({
color: {
darkRed: '#550000'
lightRed: '#ff0000'
const { Provider } = createTamagui({
themes: {
dark: {
red: tokens.color.darkRed,
light: {
red: tokens.color.lightRed,
export const App = () => (
<Provider defaultTheme="light">
<YStack backgroundColor="$red" />
<Theme name="dark">
<YStack backgroundColor="$red" />
In this example we've set up darkRed and lightRed variables and a a dark and light theme that use those variables. Tamagui will handle defining:
:root {
--colors-dark-red: #550000;
--colors-light-red: #ff0000;
.theme--dark {
--red: var(--colors-dark-red);
.theme--light {
--red: var(--colors-light-red);
Which will automatically apply at runtime, or can be gathered for use in SSR using Tamagui.getCSS(). Finally, the compiler on web will extract your views roughly as so:
export const App = () => (
<Provider defaultTheme="light">
<div className="baCo-2nesi3" />
<Theme name="dark">
<div className="baCo-2nesi3" />
// CSS output:
// .color-2nesi3 { background-color: var(--red); }
Ensuring valid types
It's easy for types to get mixed up with themes, there are patterns and helpers to make this better. Here's what we've landed on which helps ensure everything is typed properly. We use createTheme, which is a simple helper for creating a theme and having all the values turned into variables. We keep themes in a separate themes.ts file, and we structure it like so:
import { createTheme } from 'tamagui'
import { tokens } from './tokens'
const lightTheme = createTheme({
bg: '#fff',
bg2: tokens.color.gray3,
bg3: tokens.color.gray4,
bg4: tokens.color.gray5,
borderColor: tokens.color.gray4,
borderColor2: tokens.color.gray6,
color: tokens.color.gray12,
color2: tokens.color.gray11,
color3: tokens.color.gray10,
color4: tokens.color.gray6,
shadowColor: tokens.color.grayA5,
shadowColor2: tokens.color.grayA6,
// note: we set up a consistent theme type to validate the rest:
type BaseTheme = typeof lightTheme
// the rest of the themes use BaseTheme
const dark: BaseTheme = {
bg: '#000',
bg2: tokens.color.gray2Dark,
bg3: tokens.color.gray3Dark,
bg4: tokens.color.gray4Dark,
borderColor: tokens.color.gray3Dark,
borderColor2: tokens.color.gray4Dark,
color: '#ddd',
color2: tokens.color.gray11Dark,
color3: tokens.color.gray10Dark,
color4: tokens.color.gray6Dark,
shadowColor: tokens.color.grayA6,
shadowColor2: tokens.color.grayA7,
// if you need to add non-token values, use createTheme
const darkTranslucent: BaseTheme = createTheme({
bg: 'rgba(0,0,0,0.7)',
bg2: 'rgba(0,0,0,0.5)',
bg3: 'rgba(0,0,0,0.25)',
bg4: 'rgba(0,0,0,0.1)',
const lightTranslucent: BaseTheme = createTheme({
bg: 'rgba(255,255,255,0.85)',
bg2: 'rgba(250,250,250,0.85)',
bg3: 'rgba(240,240,240,0.85)',
bg4: 'rgba(240,240,240,0.7)',
// use `as const` at the end here to be sure its strictly typed
export const themes = {
'translucent-dark': darkTranslucent,
'translucent-light': lightTranslucent,
} as const
Subset themes
One of the real powers of Tamagui is theme nesting, which we'll explain below, but which is important to understand. If you define a theme with the name in the form [name]-[parentName], Tamagui handles <Theme name="[name]" /> as though it's valid. For more on this, see the Theme docs.