<body background="imageFileName">

For example:
<body text="#000000" bgcolor="#CCCCCC" link="#FF0000" vlink="#FF0000" alink="#FF0000" background="bgrImage.jpg">

Where image can be a GIF or a JPG image.  Newer browsers also supports PNG images.

Using tiled-background-image was a popular rage not so long ago, when the web was new. Arguably, it makes the web more interesting... but often, it could also make a page harder to navigate. For example, bad choice of colors can ruin a page and make the page unreadable.

As the web matures, web designers began to stray away from using  tiled-backgrounds. This is probably inevitable.  Not only a tiled-background can make the text on a page hard or even impossible to read, it can also make a page look quite messy and unprofessional.

Technically, background-images serve no necessary purpose.  It's certainly not critical (meaning that a web page can still function without using a background image.)   Still, there are cases where background-image can enhance a site, at least perhaps aesthetically.  For example, using tiled background as a separate layer below a table is quite common. In this way, the background will not obstruct the text, and the text is still readable.  For something like this, generally, it's better to use an  image that is not too complex. Also, try to avoid too many colors or contrasting patterns, as they tend to distract the eye.

Another example where background-image is useful is to display a logo on the background; or to create a sidebar. For something like this, it's probably better to keep it simple, and always make sure the text stay readable.

Some samples images that can be tiled as baground are shown below.  Not all of these images are good when used as background.  In fact, I think most are not, especially if not used carefully -  although I have used some of them at some point.  They are shown here for historical purpose and as design considerations.  Each image has been designed to appear as a seamless background.  (IE users can move the mouse over a tile to see the effect.)


1996 F. Permadi