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ADR: preferred styling method

This document supersedes ADR: preferred styles import placement


In the codebase, we need to have a uniform way of performing style updates.


We have decided to move away from using makeStyles as it's currently deprecated from @material/ui, and kept alive with an external interop package to maintain compatability with the latest version. The preferred path forward is to use styled components which is supported natively in @material/ui and sparingly use the sx prop available on all mui components.

When to use sx vs styled

As with everything else, whether to use styled components or the sx prop depends on the context.

Styled components have better performance characteristics, but it's fairly minor (refer to Material UI's performance tradeoffs doc for more information). So unless you're rendering something a lot of times, it's not really a big deal. But when in doubt: Use styled components. And when using a styled component feels like too much overhead, consider using the sx prop.

Consequences: code sharing

With makeStyles it was common to reuse CSS fragments via library utilities. In the styled components approach we use themeable functions and object literals.

import { Theme } from '@mui/material';

export const focusable = (theme: Theme) => ({
color: theme.palette.primary.main,

export const flexRow = {
display: 'flex',
alignItems: 'center',


const StyledLink = styled(Link)(({ theme }) => ({

<IconButton sx={focusable}/>