I am currently changing the background colour of a sidebar each time a menu item is clicked using the following code:

$( 'a[href = "#masthead"' ).click(function() {
  $('#sidebar').css('background-color', '#3b6dac');

$( 'a[href = "#section2"' ).click(function() {
  $('#sidebar').css('background-color', '#23d4d7');

$( 'a[href = "#section3"' ).click(function() {
  $('#sidebar').css('background-color', '#59d078');

It does what I want, but I am relatively new to JavaScript and jQuery, and I imagine there is likely to be a better way...


  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you open to changing the html? \$\endgroup\$ – RobH Feb 6 '15 at 10:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes certainly if it makes things cleaner. \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Feb 9 '15 at 4:33

You can do something like this:

<ul class="list-unstyled main-nav">
  <li><a href="#masthead" data-bg-color="blue">Masthead</a>
  <li><a href="#section2" data-bg-color="pink">Section 2</a>
  <li><a href="#section3" data-bg-color="orange">Section 3</a>

and js:

$( 'a[data-bg-color]' ).click(function() {
  $('#sidebar').css('background-color', $(this).attr("data-bg-color"));

or if you cannot change html:

$( '.main-nav a' ).click(function() {

    var color = "blue"; //default;

    switch($(this).attr("href")) {
        case '#masthead' : color = "blue"; break;
        case '#section2' : color = "pink"; break;
        case '#section3' : color = "orange"; break;
    $('#sidebar').css('background-color', color);

Improved solution

If you can do the first option but if you don't like to write in HTML the color of background (according to best practice, the style should be inside css), then you can use the same approach but using the class to add on sidebar.

For example:

<li><a href="#masthead" data-sidebar-class="master">Masthead</a>
<li><a href="#section2" data-sidebar-class="section2">Section 2</a>
<li><a href="#section3" data-sidebar-class="section3">Section 3</a>

and js:

$( 'a[data-sidebar-class]' ).click(function() {

    // http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2644299/jquery-removeclass-wildcard
    $('#sidebar').removeClass(function (index, css) {
        return (css.match (/(^|\s)sidebar-\S+/g) || []).join(' ');


and css:

.sidebar-master { background-color: blue }
.sidebar-section2 { background-color: pink }
.sidebar-section3 { background-color: orange }

demo: http://jsfiddle.net/9vtxutth/1/

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you saying that it is best practice to include background colour in the HTML, or are you saying that it is best practice to not include background colour in the HTML? \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Feb 9 '15 at 4:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I means that all the styles should be inside css. \$\endgroup\$ – Luca Rainone Feb 9 '15 at 9:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Great; that is what I was thinking too. Thanks for your response, I haven't marked it as the accepted answer because I haven't had a chance yet to figure it all out yet. \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Feb 12 '15 at 23:53

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