Customizing MUI Table Background Color, Border, Font Size

Material-UI Tables can be uniquely styled if you target the appropriate component: TableCell, TableRow, Table, or TableContainer. In this demo, I will customize the background color, font size, and borders to create the table in the screenshot below.

MUI Table with background color, large font, and cell border
MUI Table with background color, large font, and cell border

We’ll go over the differences in targeting the header cells and the body cells.

Here’s how to use onClick on Table components (cells, rows, and more).

A Code Sandbox link with full React code is in the Resources section.

Material-UI Table Background Color and Text Color

When setting the background color on a table, you need to consider what the most effective (least code) method is for applying color to the desired areas.

Take a look at the screenshot in the intro. We need to apply background uniquely to the first cell of the header, then uniformly to the rest of the header, and uniformly to the first column of the table body.

We accomplish this through the code below:

<Table sx={{ tableLayout: "auto" }}>
  <TableHead onClick={tableHeaderClickHandler}>
        backgroundColor: "yellow",
        borderBottom: "2px solid black",
        "& th": {
          fontSize: "1.25rem",
          color: "rgba(96, 96, 96)"
          width: 100,
          backgroundColor: "orange"
//...more JSX

//In the TableBody

    padding: "0px 0px",
    borderRight: "2px solid black",
    backgroundColor: "lightblue",
    fontSize: "1.1rem"

In the TableRow component I set background color using the sx prop. Then in the first child TableCell, I set a difference background color. This overrides the parent background color for that cell.

Later in the TableBody, I set the first cell to have a “lightblue” background color. This cell is coded once but rendered for every row.

Next, I set text color in the TableHeader TableRow using a nested selector. TableCell components that render in a Material-UI TableHeader will render as th elements. This is why the nested selector targets th. In contrast to this, cells in the body section will render as td by default.

Material-UI Table Border

The relevant code for the row and column border can be found in the previous section.

I added a bottom border to the MUI TableRow in the header to give the appearance of the header being separated from the body.

I then added a right border to the first cell of the TableBody. This TableCell is coded once but multiple copies get rendered, one for each element of data.

The border on the right of the ‘title’ column gives a nice visual to immediately see the label column. Remember that there are no columns in the MUI table, only TableCells that get rendered in a certain order.

Here’s how to create a ‘sticky’ first column for your table.

Material-UI Table Cell Font Size

The relevant code for font size can be found in the Background Color section.

Font size in a table is useful for differentiating header text and title column text.

A simple way to increase font size in the TableHeader is to use a nested selector with the sx prop. This allows code to be written once instead of written in the sx prop of every header TableCell.

If you want to increase the text size for the title column, take a look at my code. Simply code the font size increase in the first cell in the table body, then loop through the data and render many copies of the cell.


Here’s a tutorial on the basics of the MUI table.

Check out this article for MUI Table row height.

Code Sandbox link

MUI Table Component API

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