Sherwin Williams Passive is a popular gray paint color. It is cool toned and has subtle blue undertones so it has a very calming and relaxing vibe and looks beautiful in a variety of rooms and settings.
Today I am reviewing Sherwin Williams Passive as part of my paint color review series. I love researching and reviewing paint colors and sharing all the details with you! If you have a paint color you’d like me to review, please tell me in the comments.
Passive is a great cool gray but it’s definitely not as popular as some other gray paint colors like repose gray, worldly gray, and agreeable gray. However, it’s such a pretty color and I think it ought to be used more often! In this review I will share all the details on Passive and why I think it could be a great color for you.
Sherwin Williams Passive
R:203 G:204 B:201
LRV, or light reflectance value, is the amount of light the paint color reflects or absorbs. The higher the LRV number, the lighter the paint color. I look at paint color LVR numbers all the time when deciding if a paint color is right for a project in my own home. Here’s a really helpful article if you want to learn more about LRV.
What Color is Sherwin Williams Passive?
So, what color is Passive anyway? One of the most common questions! Simply put, it’s a gray paint color with cool undertones. It picks up the undertones of the other colors around it and reflects them, making it look more blue in some areas and more white in others. With ample natural light, Passive can even pass as a neutral gray.
Because of it’s cool, icy undertones, if you are looking for a warm and cozy feeling in your home, it’s best if you stay away from this paint color since it will have the opposite effect. Colors with blue undertones are more calming and airy while warmer undertones feel more traditional, cozy, and pull in that brown.
This doesn’t mean you should never mix cool or warm colors. In fact, I strongly suggest you DO mix warm and cool colors between your furniture, paint colors, window treatments, etc. It gives you a much more interesting and well-designed room than a room all in the same tone that can feel flat and boring. As an interior designer, I am always looking for ways to combine unique colors and patterns for an interesting look that hasn’t been done over and over.
What Undertones Are in Passive?
As I was saying earlier, Passive picks up colors and tones from the colors it’s surrounded by, such as trim color, furniture, lighting carpet, etc. In some light it definitely shows blue undertones. You may see a flash of purple at times even. I say it every single paint review post, but you must ALWAYS test your paint color first by sampling it on the wall before committing. You don’t want to buy a full gallon and start painting only to find out that it has too much blue undertone for your liking. We’ve all done it before where we got overly excited and run out to buy gallons, then the first roll of paint on the wall suddenly has us questioning everything. Don’t do it and just get a quart to sample first! You will be glad you did.
Where Can Passive Be Used?
Passive is extremely versatile and will look best in:
Kitchen Cabinets and Other Cabinetry
Bedrooms and bathrooms are natural areas we go to relax and recharge, so it only makes sense to use a calming color on the walls! Nurseries are another excellent place to use Passive to promote sleep 😉
Kitchens and cabinetry are another good idea to use Passive. If your kitchen cabinets are a darker neutral wood (not cherry), Passive is a great choice for wall color. If you are wanting a gray on your kitchen cabinets, consider Passive. Just make sure to paint your walls a coordinating color.
Our kitchen cabinets were a cool gray in our first home (see picture below) and I absolutely loved the color! They looked very modern and clean and are slightly less high maintenance than all white cabinets might be. Our cabinets came pre-finished from Home Depot so I don’t know the exact paint color they were, but the color was very similar to Passive. Tour our kitchen remodel here.
Living rooms and dining rooms can look beautiful painted Passive. Usually this looks best if your room has plenty of natural light. If your living room lacks windows and feels dark, Passive is probably not the best gray paint color option for you. You may want to consider Accessible Beige instead.
Shiplap is a popular feature (read this post to learn all about how to install shiplap) in a home as an accent wall, around a fireplace, or in mudroom cabinets and even in bathrooms! You most definitely can paint shiplap Passive.
Paint sheens are an important feature of selecting paint colors that is often forgotten. You can use sheen to your advantage for a different look. Even though the color is the same, a wall painted with eggshell finish and a wall painted semi-gloss can look different.
When designing a space, sometimes I have clients paint the ceiling the same color as the walls but with a flat finish on the ceiling if the color is a gray or on the lighter side. This creates a nice cohesive look.
Coordinating Colors with SW Passive
There are several paint colors that pair perfectly with Passive. A few of them are:
SW Pure White – I recommend painting trim this color if you are using Passive on the walls. Anything with a color or undertone on the trim next to Passive will clash.
SW Iron Ore – This is a dark gray that’s almost black and makes a statement.
SW Grizzle Gray – Another gray that’s slightly darker and makes a great pair.
Overall, Passive is a cool gray paint color that looks good with almost every design style and in every room. It does look best when used in areas with plenty of natural light so it keeps a neural undertone rather than going too blue. Otherwise it can look a bit flat and not give off the same beautiful look.
Painting yourself and want a professional look? This BRUSH will be your new best friend!