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The palette enables you to modify the color of the components to suit your brand.


A color intention is a mapping of a palette to a given intention within your application.

The theme exposes the following color intentions:

  • primary - used to represent primary interface elements for a user.
  • secondary - used to represent secondary interface elements for a user.
  • error - used to represent interface elements that the user should be made aware of.

The default palette uses the shades prefixed with A (A200, etc.) for the secondary intention, and the un-prefixed shades for the other intentions.

If you want to learn more about color, you can check out the color section.

Custom palette

You may override the default palette values by including a palette object as part of your theme.

If any of the palette.primary, palette.secondary or palette.error 'intention' objects are provided, they will replace the defaults.

The intention value can either be a color object, or an object with one or more of the keys specified by the following TypeScript interface:

interface PaletteIntention {
  light?: string;
  main: string;
  dark?: string;
  contrastText?: string;

Using a color object

The simplest way to customize an intention is to import one or more of the provided colors and apply them to a palette intention:

import { createMuiTheme } from '@material-ui/core/styles';
import blue from '@material-ui/core/colors/blue';

const theme = createMuiTheme({
  palette: {
    primary: blue,

If the intention key receives a color object as in the example above, the following mapping is used to populate the required keys:

palette: {
  primary: {
    light: palette.primary[300],
    main: palette.primary[500],
    dark: palette.primary[700],
    contrastText: getContrastText(palette.primary[500]),
  secondary: {
    light: palette.secondary.A200,
    main: palette.secondary.A400,
    dark: palette.secondary.A700,
    contrastText: getContrastText(palette.secondary.A400),
  error: {
    light: palette.error[300],
    main: palette.error[500],
    dark: palette.error[700],
    contrastText: getContrastText(palette.error[500]),

This example illustrates how you could recreate the default palette values:

import { createMuiTheme } from '@material-ui/core/styles';
import indigo from '@material-ui/core/colors/indigo';
import pink from '@material-ui/core/colors/pink';
import red from '@material-ui/core/colors/red';

// All the following keys are optional, as default values are provided.
const theme = createMuiTheme({
  palette: {
    primary: indigo,
    secondary: pink,
    error: red,
    // Used by `getContrastText()` to maximize the contrast between the background and
    // the text.
    contrastThreshold: 3,
    // Used to shift a color's luminance by approximately
    // two indexes within its tonal palette.
    // E.g., shift from Red 500 to Red 300 or Red 700.
    tonalOffset: 0.2,

Providing the colors directly

If you wish to provide more customized colors, you can either create your own color object, or directly supply colors to some or all of the intention's keys:

import { createMuiTheme } from '@material-ui/core/styles';

const theme = createMuiTheme({
  palette: {
    primary: {
      // light: will be calculated from palette.primary.main,
      main: '#ff4400',
      // dark: will be calculated from palette.primary.main,
      // contrastText: will be calculated to contrast with palette.primary.main
    secondary: {
      light: '#0066ff',
      main: '#0044ff',
      // dark: will be calculated from palette.secondary.main,
      contrastText: '#ffcc00',
    // error: will use the default color

As in the example above, if the intention object contains custom colors using any of the main, light, dark or contrastText keys, these map as follows:

  • If the dark and / or light keys are omitted, their value(s) will be calculated from main, according to the tonalOffset value.

  • If contrastText is omitted, its value will be calculated to contrast with main, according to thecontrastThreshold value.

Both the tonalOffset and contrastThreshold values may be customized as needed. A higher value for tonalOffset will make calculated values for light lighter, and dark darker. A higher value for contrastThreshold increases the point at which a background color is considered light, and given a dark contrastText.

Note that contrastThreshold follows a non-linear curve.


<ThemeProvider theme={theme}>
  <Button color="primary">Primary</Button>
  <Button color="secondary">Secondary</Button>

Color tool

Need inspiration? The Material Design team has built an awesome palette configuration tool to help you.

Type (light /dark theme)

Material-UI comes with two theme variants, light (the default) and dark.

You can make the theme dark by setting type to dark. While it's only a single property value change, internally it modifies the value of the following keys:

  • palette.text
  • palette.divider
  • palette.background
  • palette.action
const theme = createMuiTheme({
  palette: {
    type: 'dark',

Primary color #3f51b5

Primary text #fff

<ThemeProvider theme={theme}>
  <WithTheme />

User preference

Users might have specified a preference for a light or dark theme. The method by which the user expresses their preference can vary. It might be a system-wide setting exposed by the Operating System, or a setting controlled by the User Agent.

You can leverage this preference dynamically with the useMediaQuery hook and the prefers-color-scheme media query.

For instance, you can enable the dark mode automatically:

import React from 'react';
import useMediaQuery from '@material-ui/core/useMediaQuery';
import { ThemeProvider } from '@material-ui/core/styles';

function App() {
  const prefersDarkMode = useMediaQuery('(prefers-color-scheme: dark)');

  const theme = React.useMemo(
    () =>
        palette: {
          type: prefersDarkMode ? 'dark' : 'light',

  return (
    <ThemeProvider theme={theme}>
      <Routes />

Default values

You can explore the default values of the palette using the theme explorer or by opening the dev tools console on this page (window.theme.palette).