Passive is a popular gray paint shade from Sherwin Williams. It is a relatively light, pale gray that feels unobtrusive.
Sherwin Williams’ includes Passive in their West Elm collection, indicating that this shade feels chic and minimalistic on your walls. Additionally, Passive can feel sophisticated, elegant or just innoculous on your walls.
Passive is also featured in the Sherwin Williams’ Living Well collection, and I include it as one of my picks for the top 20 gray paint colors.
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Passive Paint Color Details
Sherwin Williams Passive is listed as one of Sherwin Williams top 50 paint colors.
While some grays can be heavy on your walls, Passive tends to be a little more laid back and, well, passive. It doesn’t scream, “Color!,” though it is definitely a true shade on your walls. This fact likely contributes to its popularity.
While there are several grays listed higher on this list, Passive is one of the first true grays on the list.
This is because all of the more popular grays have beige tones in them. This gray-beige color, or greige, tends to be more versatile – so they are ruling the gray charts right now.
But, if you want a true gray, that doesn’t have beige underotnes, Passive is a great choice.
Sherwin Wililams Passive has the number SW 7064.
Sherwin Williams Passive Undertones
Undertones are an important consideration when painting a room.
A paint color with cool undertones (blues, greens, purple) will give a calming look to a room. They can also feel icy, chilly or steely.
Passive has all the cool undertones. I carries a bit of blue, green and purple in it. While it shouldn’t look too terribly blue, green or purple on your walls, it is really important to make sure you like how this color looks in your own space.
For example, in a room with a lot of northern light, you may see those blue undertones more. This will make the paint color feel particularly icy. If you thought you were getting a gray that was soft and understated, but end up with a gray that looks brisk, you might be disappointed.
So it is very important to consider your own space, and get a sample of paint or a Samplize square to make sure you don’t mind the undertones you see when its on your walls.
In this picture, you can see that Passive looks a bit blue, and also a bit purple. Or maybe, to you, it looks perfectly gray. My word of caution is only that you need to make sure you like how it looks in your home. More on my favorite way to figure that out later.
All in all, Passive is a nice, light, neutral gray paint color that can feel modern, elegant, or fun on your walls.
Is Sherwin Williams Passive a warm or cool color?
Gray paint colors can be either warm or cool, depending on their undertones.
On one end of the greige spectrum, you have warm grays with beige undertones (commonly called greige paint colors).
I actually consider greige paint colors to be an entirely different category than your more traditional cool grays because they don’t have the same make up, and act and feel completely different on your walls than a cool gray does. (Click here if you want to learn more about greige paint colors).
On the other end of the spectrum, you have cool grays that have purple, blue or green undertones.
Passive is a cool gray paint color since it has all of those cool undertones.
Sherwin Williams Passive LRV
Passive has an LRV (Light Reflectance Value) of 60, which puts it in the “light” category.
The LRV scale goes from 0 – being totally black, to 100 – being totally white. So you can see that Passive is inching its way towards the complete middle of the scale. It isn’t super light, but it definitely isn’t dark.
So, Passive isn’t the most light gray you can find, and it does have a bit of depth to it. But overall, it is still a fairly light color.
If you want a gray that is even lighter, check out this list of gray paint colors to see if you find one that you like.
Where Can I Use Sherwin Williams Passive
Sherwin Williams Passive can work in most rooms in a house.
Because it is a neutral paint color that is relatively light, Passive can work as an anchor color for a whole house color scheme.
It can also work in a single room, such as a living room, dining room, nursery, bathroom or bedroom.
Last, Passive can even do well in a basement or hallway that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight. But, you have to make sure that you have enough artificial light to support this paint color.
Because it doesn’t have a super high LRV, it won’t bounce as much light around the room, and can look a little dingy if you don’t have enough light (but, this is true of any paint color, so don’t let this stop you from choosing Passive! Just get more light!).
Coordinating Colors for Passive
Passive is a light gray paint color that tends to go with a lot of other shades.
For example, you can pair Passive with light neutrals such as creams, off-whites and whites.
Additionally, Passive looks gorgeous with pale blues, greens and pinks.
For a coordinating color palette, Sherwin Williams pairs Passive with Nebulous White – a pale gray off-white shade, Shell White – a creamy white paint color, and Green Onyx- a mossy green hue.
Sherwin Williams Passive Compared
If you like the color Passive, but you’re not completely sold on it, or if you would like to see how Passive stacks up to other popular gray paint colors, this part is for you.
When I do a complete color review on a paint color, I always like to compare it to some of the other most popular shades to help you choose between them.
So without further ado…
Sherwin Williams Passive vs. Repose Gray
Repose Gray is one of the most popular Sherwin Williams paint colors – and one of their top two grays! But, Repose Gray isn’t actually a true gray.
Repose Gray is a greige paint color. It has subtle beige tones in it that put it into the greige range.
But, as far as greiges go, it is one of the less warm ones. Repose Gray has purple and blue undertones that tone down the beige. So while it is a warm gray, it is on the cooler end of warm grays.
Okay, now that we hashed all that out, let’s look at how Repose Gray compares to Passive.
Repose Gray and Passive have similar LRVs. They are going to reflect the same amount of light. Additionally, they feel about the same weight on your walls.
But, I find that Repose Gray is a better bet for something like cabinets or exteriors, because it tends to go better with other shades.
If you want a cool gray, with no hint of warmth, Passive should be your choice. But, if you’re leaning towards a gray that is really versatile, check out Repose Gray.
Sherwin Williams Passive vs. Agreeable Gray
Agreeable Gray is the other of the top 2 gray paint colors by Sherwin Williams, and, no surprise, it is actually a greige as well.
Agreeable Gray has a much softer look to it than Passive. It has an LRV of 60, just like Passive, but it tends to come across as a little more ethereal.
Again though, as Agreeable Gray is a greige, it does tend to be more versatile than Passive. You won’t find it clashing with other tones in the room as much as you might find Passive doing so.
If you hate those warm greiges and want a nice, steely gray, Passive might be just the right gray for you!
But, if you are considering a gray that goes with most anything, click here for more information on Agreeable Gray.
Sherwin Williams Passive vs. Light French Gray
Light French Gray is the other highly popular true gray paint color on the 50 top paint colors by Sherwin Williams.
Light French Gray is a bit darker than Passive, and this makes it a little less usable.
Passive has that higher LRV that makes it work in rooms with a little less light, where as Light French Gray really needs a room with a ton of natural or artificial light.
That being said, Light French Gray is actually a better color for an exterior. Because it is darker, it doesn’t wash out as much.
Wondering how to pick the perfect paint color?
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Samplize squares are truly the easiest (and fastest!) way to test a paint color in your home.
Final Thoughts on Sherwin Williams Passive
Passive is a really beautiful shade of gray that looks amazing in many homes.
Given the right amount of light, Passive can work in most rooms. And, I love how Passive provides a sophisticated look without being too icy, or too stormy.
If you want a light gray paint color, pick up a Samplize square of Passive and see if it works in your home!
Want to see all your paint options in one convenient place? Click here to pick up a Sherwin Williams fan deck (contains all SW colors) or a Benjamin Moore Collections fan deck (contains many popular BM colors – other fan decks sold separately)!
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