Backgrounds, one of the top subjects that clients like to dwell on during the process of creating a website is what the website background looks like. Now, they are not talking about the background where the text is, they are talking about outer rim of the website.
In the early days of the web, most sites just picked a solid color and went with that, with white being the primary choice. But over the years, more and more sites started adding images or repeating patterns to their backgrounds. When developing for the web, monitors come in all sorts of sizes and resolutions, from flat panel monitors to the iPad, there is a wide variety to choose from.
With such a diverse range of monitor size, a developer has to make a website that can fit a majority of the screens, which can be roughly around 1000 px wide. What that means is on a wider monitor more of the background will show and on smaller ones you will see less.
Of course when making a website, your number one concern should be your content, but clients always seem to get hung up on the background look. Clients always want huge images and fancy patterns in the background, not realizing a large image could make your site load slower, and the quicker your site loads the better.
In my opinion, subtle colors with a nice gradient is the best way to go, leaving the bold contrast colors for the site itself to showcase the content. Now that rarely is the clients choice, many prefer big bright colors with pictures of their grandma in the background. If you look at major sites like Google, Apple, Microsoft or Coca-Cola, what is their primary background color? White, that is right, the major sites usually go with white or a subtle gradient of white and grey.
From my experience if I show a client a white background, that is the first thing they focus on. It almost never stays white. What is the most popular color clients usually want? If you guessed Blue or a shade of Blue , you are correct. Even this site loves Blue. By far the hands down favorite of clients is Blue.
The point of this article is to show some perspective of what people look for in backgrounds. A nice pattern with subtle colors is a nice way to go, but just try not to over do it and do not be so afraid to have White in your background.