Best Places to Find Free Backgrounds for Websites

Lucy Lediaev
background image

It can take quite a bit of searching to find just the right free background for your website. Many sites that offer background images, but not all of them are free. The sites reviewed here offer background images without charge and have been noted as standing out from the crowd.

Seven Great Resources for Free Backgrounds

While some of the websites below offer offer web hosting and other services at a charge, their background images are free.

Subtle Patterns

Subtle Patterns, one of several web sites recommended by the team at Awwwards, offers just what its name promises. You can download over 400 background images in subtle patterns and colors.

Site Features:

  • The images on this site include patterns from nature and from common objects.
  • The backgrounds can be reviewed by clicking thumbnail images or via a list with names of the textures.
  • One of the nicer features available from the list formatted page is an ability to fill the entire background with the background image you want to preview. This gives you a realistic idea of how the image will look when it is tiled on the background of a page.

Limitations: The website uses a Creative Commons license, which allows for both personal and commercial use. However, the site owner requires attribution for the background you borrow for your web site.

Colour Lovers

Colour Lovers lets you browse almost one million seamless patterns, boasting one of the largest collections among websites that offer free backgrounds.

Site Features:

  • Colour Lovers requires you to register for access to their free backgrounds.
  • With so many options, it may take you a little time to browse this site, but the time spent is likely to result in finding a background that meets your needs.
  • In addition to free backgrounds, this website also provides non-expert tools for creating your patterns, including a tool to create a color palette and a tool to design a custom seamless background. These tools make it easy for a web designer who does not have a lot of experience with graphics programs to customize or design background patterns for a personal web site.

Limitations: The backgrounds here are available only for noncommercial use.

CG Textures

CG Textures is recommended by Noupe, an online magazine for web designers. The site provides many no-cost, high-quality photographic backgrounds.

Site Features:

  • This image library includes photos of animals, plants, natural textures, and many other objects.
  • The images are stored in folders and subfolders. They are categorized by subject matter and materials, so it is relatively easy to find what you want.

Limitations: The license agreement allows use on the Internet free of charge for both personal and commercial uses.

Pattern Cooler

It can be frustrating to find an appealing pattern or texture and be unable to use it because it does not fit the color scheme you have chosen for your web site. Pattern Cooler is a unique because you can edit the color palette of the background design before you download it.

Site Features:

  • Pattern Cooler has made it easy to change the colors of each pattern or texture without using a graphics program and without any special expertise.
  • The online editor lets you seamlessly change the multiple colors within the background design.
  • You can also store a specific color palette for reuse, a feature that is very helpful when you need to update or expand your site.

Limitations: This site allows both personal and commercial use of the backgrounds, but asks commercial users to consider making a donation to the website.

Brusheezy

Brusheezy offers hundreds of patterns created with Adobe's Photoshop software. If you are an experienced Photoshop user you will find this feature very useful, because you can edit the native files without having to convert from one graphic format to another.

Site Features:

  • The images at Brusheezy are categorized by type; however, there are so many patterns to choose from that you may find you need to browse for a little while before you find a pattern that is just right.
  • Brusheezy provides download buttons for its patterns. This feature makes it very easy to download the images to a specific location on your computer in one step.
  • This site also refers you to other patterns you might like based on what you have looked at.

Limitations: All of the images are available for use free of charge.

Background Labs

Background Labs offers many patterns categorized for convenience by type. The high-resolution images on this site are very sharp and can be used seamlessly.

Site Features:

  • You can browse by color, as well as by backgrounds and texture.
  • The backgrounds category includes a variety of backgrounds. You may browse by type; the images consist of both pictorial and abstract designs.
  • The textures category includes a number of high resolution photographic images taken from real life.

Limitations: With a few limitations, images on this site can be used commercially and personally.

All Free Backgrounds

In addition to many background images, All Free Backgrounds offers tools that make it easier to select the best colors for text and links against a chosen background. This site has tools that let you quickly test your chosen text color against the background without changing colors on your site and previewing them there.

Site Features:

  • You can select buttons and bars you to coordinate with your chosen background.
  • The site offers advice about use of color on the web and a conversion table for changing color codes from RGB values to the hexadecimal code required for use on the Internet.
  • For the novice web designer, the site includes a color tutorial and tips about using color on a web page, as well as a set of frequently asked questions.

Limitations: The graphics on this site can be used for any purpose without permission or licensing.

Usage Limitations

Before settling on a background, verify that you can use it on your site without any special constraints. If usage is limited to non-commercial purposes, then the backgrounds you find there cannot be used on a web site on which anything is advertised or sold.

Many Possibilities

There are many possibilities when looking for no-cost website backgrounds. Test several backgrounds with your own site before choosing the one you will use. A background that looks good on the source website or as an isolated thumbnail image may not the look the way you expect with your overall design. Many of the websites discussed here not only have background images, but may also have fonts, buttons, icons, and other design elements available free of charge.

Best Places to Find Free Backgrounds for Websites