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Boxed Vs Full Width Website Layout?

boxed vs full width website layout

Have you ever wondered which is better: boxed or full width website layout?

The layout of your website plays a big role in how visitors feel when they stop by.

It’s not just about slapping on some pretty colors and cool graphics; it’s about creating a space that’s a delight to navigate, easy on the eyes, and reflects your brand’s unique personality.

So, why is this important?

The layout of your website can influence how users interact with your content, how long they stick around, and even how they perceive your brand.

It’s a BIG deal!

In this friendly chat, we’ll explore the nooks and crannies of both boxed and full-width layouts.

We’ll look at what makes them tick, how they can influence your site’s character, and why choosing the right one could be the secret ingredient to your website’s growth.

This post covers:

Understanding Boxed & Full Width Website Layouts

Let’s unravel the mysteries of boxed and full width layouts.

Definition Of A Boxed Layout

What’s A Boxed Layout?

what is a boxed website layout
Imagine a picture frame. A boxed layout is like that frame around your website’s content.

It neatly contains everything within a visible border or margin, giving your site a classic, structured feel.

Characteristics & Typical Usage

  • Structured & organized: Boxed layouts are all about clear boundaries. They keep your content neatly wrapped up, making it easier for visitors to focus.
  • Great for backgrounds: They allow you to play around with background images or colors that frame the main content area.
  • Used often in traditional or business sites: This layout is a go-to for businesses and blogs where clarity and structure are key.

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Pros: It’s familiar, easy to navigate, and works wonders in making content digestible. It’s also great for designs that need a visual breathing space around them.
  • Cons: It can feel a bit limiting creatively. Plus, on very large or very small screens, it might not always look as intended.

Definition Of A Full Width Layout

What’s A Full Width Layout?

what is a full width website layout
Now, picture a landscape painting that stretches edge to edge.

A full-width layout does just that with your website content. It breaks free from the confines of borders and spreads from one end of the screen to the other.

It’s modern, dynamic, and offers a feeling of spaciousness.

Characteristics & Typical Usage

  • Fluid & engaging: It uses the entire screen width, making it feel more immersive.
  • Ideal for visual impact: If your site is heavy on visuals or you want a cinematic feel, this is your go-to.
  • Popular with creative & modern sites: Think portfolios, photography sites, or any place where visuals lead the story.

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Pros: The full-width layout is a champion of visual impact. It adapts beautifully to different screen sizes and gives designers creative freedom.
  • Cons: Without the right balance, it can be overwhelming. And, if poorly designed, it might lead to a bit of a chaotic user experience on large screens.

Aesthetic & Functional Differences

What are some common aesthetic and functional differences between boxed and full width website layouts?

It’s like comparing two different painting styles – each has unique brush strokes and colors that create distinct moods and experiences.

Ready to explore?

1. Visual Impact

Boxed Layout (The Classic Gallery Frame)

  • A familiar feel: A boxed layout wraps your content in a neat package, creating a sense of order and tradition. It’s like a classic painting with a beautiful frame, giving viewers a focused area to admire.
  • Playing with space & margins: The margins and space around your content in a boxed layout are your playground. They can be filled with colors, patterns, or even left blank to create a canvas effect. It’s all about using that space to complement your central masterpiece.

Full Width Layout (The Expansive Mural)

  • A bold, immersive experience: Think of full width as a mural that stretches across the wall. It’s all about making a bold statement and drawing the viewer into an immersive experience.
  • Space is your canvas: Unlike the boxed layout, the full width layout uses the entire screen as its canvas. There’s no distinct separation between the edge of your content and the edge of the screen, creating a seamless flow of visuals.

2. User Experience

Boxed Layout (A Structured Journey)

  • Predictable navigation: With its traditional structure, navigation in a boxed layout is often straightforward and familiar. Users know where to look for information, which is great for websites where clarity is key.
  • Adaptability with a twist: While boxed layouts work well across devices, they can sometimes look a bit small on larger screens or leave unused space on the sides.

Full Width Layout (The Fluid Explorer)

  • Dynamic navigation: A full width layout offers a more dynamic experience. As the content stretches across the full screen, it can encourage more exploration and interaction.
  • Responsiveness is king: This layout shines in its ability to adapt fluidly to different screen sizes. On mobile devices, it offers a cohesive, continuous experience without the constraints of borders.

Suitability For Different Website Types

Not every website is suitable for a boxed layout and the same goes for the wide alternative.

That’s why choosing the right layout can make a world of difference for different websites types.

1. eCommerce Sites

ecommerce site layout example

The Best Fit

For eCommerce, it’s often a toss-up between boxed and full-width, but the full-width layout frequently steals the show.

Why? Because it offers an immersive, expansive showcase for products.

Why Full Width Wins

Imagine walking into a store where products are displayed from wall to wall, creating an engaging shopping experience.

That’s the full-width layout for you! It allows for large, eye-catching images and a seamless journey from browsing to buying.

2. Blogs & Personal Websites

blog layout example

Preferred Layouts

Here, boxed layouts often shine. They create a comfortable, focused reading space, reminiscent of a favorite book.

The Boxed Effect

A boxed layout brings content to the forefront, making it easier for readers to engage without distractions.

It’s like sitting in a cozy cafe with your favorite book – the world fades away, and the story captivates you.

Plus, it provides a personal, almost diary-like feel, perfect for blogs and personal websites.

3. Corporate & Business Websites

corporate business site layout example

The Layout Choice

Corporate and business websites vary in layout style. In the past, many leaned towards a boxed layout for its structured, professional appearance.

However, most modern corporate and business websites adopted a full-width layout.

Why Boxed?

It conveys professionalism, reliability, and order – all key for corporate sites.

It also allows for easy navigation and clear information partitioning, which is essential for businesses aiming to effectively communicate their services or values.

Making The Right Layout Choice For Your Website

Are you ready to dress your website in the best layout that suits its style and purpose?

The right website layout must reflect who you are, suit your audience, and speak your goals.

Here are my tip to make the right choice and how to enhance the style.

Factors To Consider

Understanding Your Audience

Imagine your audience as guests at a party you’re hosting. What would make them feel most welcome and comfortable?

Younger, more visually-driven audiences might love the boldness of a full-width layout, while a more traditional crowd might appreciate the structured feel of a boxed layout.

Content Type

If your website is a gallery of beautiful images or products, think of a full-width layout as your expansive gallery wall.

A boxed layout for text-heavy sites like blogs or news portals can make content more digestible and easy to navigate.


Your layout should be a mirror of your brand’s personality.

A funky, bold brand could burst out of the seams with a full-width layout, while a more conservative, professional brand might prefer the neatness of a boxed layout.

Tips For Customization

Maximizing The Chosen Layout

Customize your layout to enhance its strengths.

For a boxed layout, play with margins and background colors or textures.

In a full-width layout, focus on high-quality images and fluid navigation.

Responsive Design

Ensure your layout looks smashing on all devices.

Test how your design adapts to different screen sizes.

Your website should feel like a comfy outfit that looks great whether you’re at a cafe or a formal dinner.

User Experience

Your layout should not only look good but also feel good to your visitors.

Easy navigation, fast loading times, and accessible content are like the comfortable lining of a well-made jacket.


Choosing the right layout for your website can transform the user experience, elevate your content, and resonate with your audience in a way that turns first-time visitors into loyal fans.

Your website’s layout sets the rhythm for your visitor’s journey, guiding them through your content and leaving them with a feeling of satisfaction.

A Snapshot of Key Points

  • Boxed layout: It’s all about structure, focus, and providing a familiar, organized experience for your visitors.
  • Full-width layout: It offers an immersive experience and is perfect for those who love to make a visual impact.
  • The right fit for different websites: We talked about how eCommerce sites bask in the glory of full-width layouts, how blogs and personal websites find comfort in the snugness of boxed layouts, and how corporate sites use layouts to mirror professionalism and order.
  • Customization is key: Let’s not forget our tips on tailoring your chosen layout to fit your brand’s personality and your audience’s expectations.

So as you embark on your web design journey, carry the lessons and insights from our chat.

Remember, each website is unique, and its layout should reflect its heart and soul.

With the right layout, a sprinkle of creativity, and a dash of love, your website can not only succeed but shine brightly in the vast universe of the internet.

Further reading:

FAQs About Boxed Vs Full Width Website Layout

What is a Boxed Layout?

A boxed layout is a web design approach where the content is enclosed within a visible frame or margin. It gives a structured, organized look and is often used for business or traditional websites.

What is a Full Width Layout?

A full width layout stretches the content across the entire width of the screen, without any visible borders or constraints. This layout is ideal for creating a more immersive and visually impactful experience, often used in creative or modern websites.

Which Layout is Better for Mobile Responsiveness?

Both layouts can be made mobile-responsive, but full width layouts often provide a more fluid experience on mobile devices as they adapt seamlessly to different screen sizes.

How Does Layout Choice Affect User Experience?

Boxed layouts offer a more traditional, structured user experience, making content easy to digest. Full width layouts provide a dynamic, engaging experience, suitable for visually-driven content.

Can Layout Choice Impact SEO?

Directly, no. However, layout choice can influence user engagement and site usability, which are factors in SEO. A well-designed layout, whether boxed or full width, contributes to a better user experience, potentially improving SEO indirectly.

Is One Layout More Modern Than the Other?

Full width layouts are often perceived as more modern due to their immersive and dynamic nature. However, the choice between boxed and full width should be based on content needs and audience preferences, not just trends.

Can You Switch Between Layouts Easily?

Switching layouts might require significant design changes, depending on the complexity of the website. It’s usually not a simple switch and may need careful planning and redesigning to ensure a smooth transition.

Does a boxed layout load faster?

Not necessarily. Load time depends more on the content and resources (like images and scripts) than the layout itself.

About Author

Rok decided to put his original approach and vision into action by starting ULTIDA, thanks to his extensive experience with web development and design since 2011. Working with 100s of clients made his subconscious mind think of nothing but themes, HTML, plugins, mockups, etc.