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What Colour is dusty mauve?

What Colour is dusty mauve?

Dusty mauve is a soft, muted shade of purple that lies between greyish lavender and pale violet on the color wheel. With undertones of pink, grey, and brown, dusty mauve embodies subtlety, elegance, and vintage charm. Often described as a “greige” color, combining grey and beige, dusty mauve works beautifully for clothing, home decor, weddings, and more. In this article, we’ll explore the exact specifications of dusty mauve, examine its use throughout history, and highlight popular ways to incorporate this stylish neutral into any aesthetic.

Defining Dusty Mauve

So what exactly constitutes the elusive color known as dusty mauve? Let’s break it down into its technical attributes:

Hue: Purple

Saturation: Low

Brightness: Soft, muted

Hex Code: #CBAACB

RGB Values: R: 203, G: 170, B: 203

CMYK Values: C: 0, M: 16, Y: 0, K: 20

Dusty mauve sits between lavender and lilac on the color wheel, desaturated with hints of brown and gray. This results in a pale, delicate purple with strong vintage undertones. It’s lighter and grayer than classic mauve, which is closer to a dusky pink. The greige aspects give dusty mauve a more modern, versatile flair.

History of Dusty Mauve

Where did this distinctive color originate? Dusty mauve has a long history intertwined with fashion, textiles, and interior design trends.

19th Century: In 1856, chemist William Henry Perkin accidentally created the first synthetic purple dye, known as mauveine or Perkin’s mauve. This bright, blueish purple set off a wave of “mauve mania” in Victorian England, with the color becoming wildly popular for dresses, ribbons, and other accessories. Dusty mauve likely emerged as a softer, more muted variation.

1920s: After darker Edwardian colors went out of style, pale dusty mauve became fashionable in women’s clothing during the 1920s and 30s. The growing film industry also favored dusty mauve backgrounds and sets.

1940s-50s: In post-WWII America, muted mauve paired with other pastels reflected more conservative feminine tastes. It commonly appeared in clothing, hats, furniture, curtains, and jewelry.

1990s: Mauve made a comeback when mass retailer Laura Ashley used the color extensively for its romantic dresses and home furnishings. Dusty mauve especially gained modern appeal.

Today, dusty mauve remains a mainstay neutral. Its versatility allows it to blend seamlessly into boho, vintage, modern, and minimalist aesthetics alike.

Dusty Mauve vs. Other Purple Shades

It’s helpful to distinguish dusty mauve from other similar shades of purple:

Mauve: More of a dusky pink than purple. Contains more red undertones.

Lilac: brighter, purer purple with pink undertones.

Lavender: Crisper, cooler, lighter purple.

Wisteria: Deeper, more saturated purple.

Thistle: More grey, blue undertones.

Plum: Darker, richer purple with red undertones.

Compared to these shades, dusty mauve stands out for its softness, subtlety, and greige/brownish influences. The muted quality sets it apart from brighter purples.

Using Dusty Mauve in Fashion

From apparel to accessories, dusty mauve brings understated elegance to any wardrobe. Some favorite ways to wear this color include:

  • Flowing dusty mauve dresses or skirts
  • Sweaters, cardigans, blouses
  • Scarves, hair accessories
  • Heels, flats, sandals
  • Handbags, purses, clutches
  • Jackets, coats, blazers
  • Jewelry – especially pearls and gemstones

Dusty mauve has a romantic, feminine quality that looks beautiful on most complexions. Pair it with black, camel, navy, or white for chic contrast. In clothing, opt for natural fabrics like linen, silk, and cashmere to complement the color’s softness.

Using Dusty Mauve at Home

This versatile neutral instantly warms up any living space. Here are some stylish ways to decorate with dusty mauve:

Walls: Perfect for a soothing accent wall to offset brighter colors. Also works for full wall paint in a bedroom or office.

Furniture: Mix in mauve accents like chairs, ottomans, headboards, or side tables. Looks gorgeous on vintage wooden pieces.

Textiles: Use mauve in curtains panels, accent pillows, area rugs, and throw blankets.

Accessories: Vases, candles, trays, table runners, dried flowers, art prints.

Kitchen: Canisters, dish towels, appliances like stand mixers or toasters.

Pair dusty mauve home decor with brass metals, light woods, marble, and green plants for an elegant, inviting look.

Dusty Mauve for Weddings

For brides seeking a soft, romantic aesthetic, dusty mauve brings subtle charm to weddings. It works beautifully for:

  • Bridesmaid dresses
  • Flower arrangements with roses, peonies, etc.
  • Invitations, menus, signs
  • Table linens, runners, napkins
  • Centerpieces with candles, greenery
  • Marquee, tent, or drapes
  • Cakes, desserts, macarons

Pair mauve accents with creams, whites, golds, and blush pinks for a dreamy yet modern wedding palette. This color scheme sets a warm, romantic mood for any venue.

Dusty Mauve Color Schemes

What are the best color combinations for dusty mauve? Here are some harmonious schemes:

Monochrome: For a tone-on-tone look, pair dusty mauve with purple shades like lilac, lavender, and plum. Add in greyish taupes.

Analogous: Blend with adjacent pinks, reds, and magentas. Deep wines and raspberry shades create bold contrast.

Complementary: Dusty mauve pops against yellow, peach, and mustard tones. Mint and sage greens also complement it beautifully.

Split Complementary: Combine with blue-greens and orangey corals for vibrant energy.

Triadic: Mauve, peach, and mint green make a fresh, cheerful trio.

Tetradic: Contrast with slate blue, pale gold, and burnt orange for bold dynamics.

Remember to vary textures and patterns to add visual interest in mauve color schemes.

Psychology of Dusty Mauve

Like other colors, dusty mauve conveys distinct psychological meanings:

  • Femininity, romance, and nostalgia
  • Sophistication and subtle refinement
  • Warmth and approachability
  • Calm, soothing energy
  • Creative inspiration
  • Connection to nature and spirituality

The color evokes tranquility and tenderness without being overly sweet or girly. This makes dusty mauve versatile for many different people and settings.


With its blend of grey, brown, pink, and purple, dusty mauve personifies understated elegance and vintage charm. This muted neutral offers a flattering, feminine look across fashion, interior design, weddings, and more. Dusty mauve’s softness pairs effortlessly with both light and dark colors, giving it enduring, widespread appeal. Next time you visit a paint store or browse for accessories, take a closer look at this stylish greige-purple shade. Experiment with dusty mauve to give your own look a touch of timeless sophistication.

Hue Purple
Saturation Low
Brightness Soft, muted
Hex Code #CBAACB
RGB Values R: 203, G: 170, B: 203
CMYK Values C: 0, M: 16, Y: 0, K: 20