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What does the Colour Heather look like?

What does the Colour Heather look like?

Heather is a beautiful light purple-pink colour that takes its name from the common heather plant, which produces delicate flowers in this hue. While the exact shade can vary, heather typically has a soft, dusty appearance that feels both romantic and vintage. The colour is subtle yet distinctive, making it a versatile choice for fashion, interior design, weddings and more. But what exactly does the colour “heather” look like? Here’s a closer look at this gorgeous tone.

The Origins of the Heather Colour Name

The name “heather” for the pale purple-pink shade comes from the common heather plant, also known as Calluna vulgaris. This flowering evergreen shrub blooms with tiny bell-shaped flowers in colors ranging from white and very pale pink to richer magenta shades. However, the most common color is a light purple-pink that perfectly matches the heather color we know today.

This hue likely became associated with the heather plant centuries ago when the shrubs grew wild across moors and heathlands of Europe. Heather thrives in rocky, uncultivated areas with poor soil, so it became a symbol of rural life. Writers like Emily Bronte evoked the lonely beauty of the wind-swept heather moors. The connection between the color and heather plant became fixed over time.

Today, traders and manufacturers refer to light purple shades near the color of heather flowers as “heather.” It has become an established name on the color wheel alongside related tones like lavender and lilac.

What Does Heather Look Like Exactly?

Heather is a pale, dusty shade of purple-pink that feels almost grayish. It’s quite soft and subtle, lacking the vibrancy of bright pinks and purples. The hues it most closely resembles are thistle and lavender, but it is lighter and less saturated than either of those. Heather also has a slightly warmer, rosier tone than many other pale purple flower colors.

Specifically, the HEX code for heather is #D7D0E0, CMYK codes are C40 M35 Y13 K3, and RGB codes are R249 G208 B224. On the Pantone Matching System, heather is aligned with 13-2808 TPX Lavender Heather.

Those color codes put heather in the spectrum between medium to light purples and medium pinks. It falls somewhere between a pale lilac and a soft magenta. The grayish quality gives it a dusty, vintage look, while the pinkish undertone keeps it from feeling cold.

Where Do We See the Heather Colour?

Heather’s soft, feminine qualities have made it popular for women’s fashion and accessories for decades. It frequently appears in dresses, blouses, skirts, and lingerie. Heather works well for knitwear, like lightweight sweaters and cardigans. It also suits vintage inspired fashions, from flapper dresses to 50s style circle skirts. In recent years, the color has spread to loungewear like heather sweatshirts and joggers for both men and women.

In interiors, heather reads as a very light neutral that provides subtle color without overpowering a room. It can create vintage flair when used in details like throw pillows, lampshades and floral upholstery. Painting walls, cabinets and front doors in heather is an elegant way to add color to a space without going too bold. It pairs well with both warm neutrals like tan and gray, as well as deeper colors like navy blue, sage green and coral pink.

For weddings, heather is a romantic option for bridesmaid dresses, floral arrangements and invites. It feels especially trendy now with the rise of “dusty” and muted color palettes over pure whites. Vendors offer heather linens, table runners, and other decor elements for a cohesive shabby chic or vintage wedding style.

Beauty products like eye shadows, nail polishes and lipsticks frequently come in light heather shades as well. This allows for a girly hit of color that’s still office-appropriate and subtle enough for daytime. Heather hair dyes help blend gray hairs while avoiding brassy orange tones.

Overall, the versatility and softness of heather has made it a mainstay color across many industries. It manages to be neutral enough for backgrounds while still providing a pretty pop of color.

How Heather Compares to Other Light Purples

Heather sits in a family of light purples and lavenders, but has some key differences from its siblings:

Color How it Compares to Heather
Lilac Lilac is lighter and cooler-toned than heather, with more blue undertones.
Wisteria Wisteria is a richer purple, while heather is more faded looking.
Thistle Thistle is the closest hue to heather, but is not quite as pink or warm-toned.
Lavender Lavender also resembles heather, but tends to be bolder and brighter.
Orchid Orchid is in the purple family but much darker and jewel-toned than the soft heather.
Plum Plum is significantly darker and more blue-based than light, pinky heather.

So while it gets grouped with other lavenders and lilacs, heather is truly in a color class of its own. It has a dusty, vintage vibe along with a distinctive soft pink undertone. That makes this tone unique and recognizable.

How Lighting Affects Heather

Since heather is such a pale, muted shade, the lighting it’s viewed under can really impact how it looks. Here are some lighting considerations:

Lighting Condition How it Impacts Heather
Natural daylight Daylight brings out the subtle warmth in heather and keeps it from looking too washed out.
Warm incandescent Incandescent bulbs boost heather’s pinkish quality, making it look more rosy and romantic.
Cool fluorescent Fluorescent lighting highlights the light purple versus pink tones in heather.
LED LEDs render heather closest to its true color since the light is less filtered.
Candlelight Candlelight gives heather an extra soft, vintage glow.

Overall, warmer lighting keeps heather from looking washed out or dull. Cooler lighting may make it appear more strictly lilac versus the subtle pinkness that characterizes heather. Direct sunlight or full spectrum lamps are ideal for seeing the true colors.

Heather Color Palettes and Combinations

On its own, heather may read as slightly flat due to its muted quality. But it really comes alive and shows its beauty when combined with complementary shades. Here are some recommended color palettes:

Color Palette Description
Heather + Blush + Cream Blush and cream have golden undertones that make heather pop while creating a soft, feminine look.
Heather + Navy + Gray Navy and gray bring out heather’s subtle warmth without overpowering it.
Heather + Moss green + Brown Earth tones like moss and chocolate contrast beautifully with heather’s coolness.
Heather + Coral + Sky Blue Vibrant coral and sky blue make heather feel brighter and more lively.
Heather + Lavender + Sage Coordinating soft heather with lighter lavender and darker sage green creates depth.

Heather works as a light neutral in both warm and cool palettes. You can also use deeper jewel tones to make heather feel more vivid by contrast.

How to Decorate with Heather

If you’re inspired to use this beautiful purple-pink in your home, here are some tips:

– Use heather in small doses as an accent color. Opt for heather throw pillows, an area rug, decorative accessories or artwork to introduce it without going overboard.

– Paint a front door or piece of furniture in heather. This makes for a pretty, unexpected pop of color.

– Upholster a chair or sofa in heather fabric for a vintage flair.

– Select heather lampshades, curtains or other soft furnishings to add subtle color to a neutral room.

– Pair heather with warm metals like antique brass and touches of wood for an earthy feel.

– Add heather linens, napkins, vases and other details to infuse this color into a romantic wedding or event.

– Mix in black and white accents and photographs to keep heather looking fresh, not drab. Crisp contrasts modernize this shade.

– Introduce heather through floral arrangements of lilacs, peonies, roses and ranunculus. The mixed blooms stop it from feeling flat.

With its dusty rose beauty, heather offers the perfect way to incorporate pale purple tones into your home or wardrobe.


Heather is a gorgeous color that truly stands out in the family of light purples. Its soft, faded quality gives it a romantic, vintage appeal that feels elegantly feminine yet never overpowering. With subtle warmth from its pink undertones and slightly grayish overcast, heather manages to straddle the line between neutral and colorful accent shade. It pairs as beautifully with bold brights as it does with fellow muted tones. So next time you visit the nursery, stop and admire the heather for the inspiration behind this universally flattering hue. Whether planning a wedding, redecorating your home or curating the perfect wardrobe, keep heather in mind as a sophisticated color choice.