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Passive by Sherwin Williams (SW 7064) is a modern, cool toned gray paint color that works with a multitude of decorating styles. With the sizeable range of possible undertones, it’s a versatile shade that shines brightest in rooms with lots of natural sunlight. Let’s take a closer look at Passive!

What Color is Sherwin Williams Passive?

Sherwin Williams Passive is a pretty lighter gray color which can be fairly versatile in your home. The clue is in the name here, this paint color is subtle, relaxing and very passive!

walls painted passive gray with cool white entryway doors
Sherwin Williams Passive walls via Home on Hill

The calming nature of this paint color has helped increase the popularity of the shade and is a beautiful color to use in many spots of your home.

Is SW Passive a Cool or Warm Color?

Passive is definitely a cool paint color – not so icy that it will make you feel freezing (thanks to its slight purple undertone) but this is definitely one you don’t want to choose if you are looking to add warmth to a room.

What is the LRV of SW Passive?

Light Reflectance Value (LRV) is an indicator of the amount of light that is reflected by a color when it is illuminated by a light source. A higher value (closer to 100) means that a color will reflect more light back at you and a lower value (closer to 0) means that a color will appear darker, or absorb more light. 

Passive has a light reflective value of 60 meaning it is on the lighter side, but definitely the darker side of light if that makes sense.

Due to Passive having slightly more depth to it – it will definitely suit a room with an average to good amount of natural or artificial light.

Passive can tend to look dull and flat in a darker room without much light, particularly if it’s north facing or east facing.

kid's homework area with white wainscoting and wall above painted sw passive

What Are The Undertones of Passive?

Passive has a wonderful range of cool undertones. This color tends to lean more towards purple and blue but in some lights it will show up a slight green, too.

As mentioned before, even with this large range of undertones, passive does tend to have an overall cool impression. Not freezing, but definitely a cool color.

What’s The Best Way to Use Sherwin Williams Passive?

This paint color looks best in a well lit room. In a darker room this will tend to look too cool and flat. Passive would look beautiful in a bathroom or bedroom as its a subtle, relaxing and calm color.

Pairing it with warmer colors will unarguably bring out an unwanted blue undertone. When in doubt, pair with cool crisp whites.

If I Have Passive Walls, What White Trim Color Will Look Best?

Make sure to go for crisp white trim to really make the most of that calm, airy feel.

A great choice would be Sherwin Williams Extra White, or Sherwin Williams Pure White (which pretty much works with any wall color!).

Coordinating Paint Colors

Whether you have side by side rooms you want to blend, or are trying to add accent colors into a room painted with Passive, these are a few colors that coordinate beautifully with Passive!

  • Bright, crisp cool whites are a safe bet and an excellent choice next to this cool gray paint color.
  • Deep and darker grays can be moody and the perfect contrast.

Is Passive a Good Exterior Paint Color?

In some cases, yes!

farmhouse style home with siding painted passive with black accents
SW Passive with SW Iron Ore accents via M House Development

Alone, Passive is a very light gray color that can get lost on siding. However, when paired with black accents it’s the perfect light gray paint for exteriors.

Examples of Real Homes

Best showcased in rooms with lots of natural light, Passive can appear gentle and lowkey in a dining room, in living rooms, on kitchen cabinets, in bedrooms, and more!

Living Room

Using Passive in the living room or family room is a great idea. Especially in this example, the room has large windows allowing ample light in to brighten up the paint color.

A beautiful living room with walls painted in color Passive. White couches and chairs are shown with orange poofs. A coffee table is in the center with decor and there is various wall art hanging on the walls.
Passive Painted Living Room by Designing Vibes
A family room painted in Passive with a cream couch and gold coffee table shown. A blue and white large floor rug is underneath the coffee table and there is a collection of frames hung on the wall.
Passive Den by Amelia Lawrence Style


How darling is this bedroom nursery? Passive was the perfect color choice for this little boy bedroom.

A neutral little boy nursery with a dresser beside the door and a mirror hanging overhead. A shark stuffed animal has been hung on the wall.
Neutral Nursery by the Artesian Project


If you’re lucky enough to have a full size window in your master bath or guest bathroom, take the opportunity to use Passive. You won’t regret it!

A very clean looking bathroom with a large window and white fixtures.
Passive Bathroom by Amelia Lawrence Style

This is a great example of how passive looks with all white. Simply stunning!

Comparisons of Similar Colors

Undoubtedly there are some other popular gray paint colors on the market that have likely intrigued you. If you’re torn which gray is right for you, hopefully this helps determine which is the best fit between the different shades.

Passive vs Repose Gray

sherwin williams passive versus sherwin williams repose gray side by side swatches

Repose Gray is hard to compete with as it has become one of the most popular gray paints.

Remember though, Passive is a cool toned gray – so if you are looking for a warm gray or greige (which is a warmer tone) then it’s not the right color for you.

If you need warmth, Repose Gray is a wonderful alternative. It has a beautiful mix of grey, brown, taupe and a little dash of purple meaning it will inject some warm into your space, while still looking gray.

Passive vs Agreeable Gray

Agreeable Gray is another great option if you are looking for a grey or greige which will inject some warmth.

passive versus agreeable gray swatches

Agreeable Gray is a bit warmer than Repose Grey – so a tiny bit less gray and little bit more beige. It all comes down to taste at the end of the day, both alternatives are beautiful and very versatile.

Don’t Forget To Always Use Real Paint Samples!

Don’t forget – no matter what you’ve read or photos you’ve seen online, it’s really important to sample paint colors in your home before committing!

Samplize provides peel and stick paint samples made with real paint, that are easy to move around your home, and cheaper than buying a gazillion paint pots! It’s the only way I buy paint samples.

Final Thoughts

Passive is a wonderful light gray paint color best for areas in your home with really good light. If you’re looking for a neutral gray that brings a sense of serenity to your home, this might be the perfect paint color for you!

It has a wonderful calm, airy feel, but do steer clear if you are looking to add warm tones to your home as this will not be the right color for that! The easiest way to incorporate this color in your own home is to pick out well lit, south-facing rooms. As always, grab some real paint samples to test it first!

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  1. Sandra Lipari says:

    Hello Jenna:
    My contractor asked for my whole house color today. Love this blog! I used Colonnade Gray SW in my old home and loved it. Curious what you thought of this color? Sandi

    1. I love it! It’s a great greige color! I’ve only used it for a couple of exterior projects but it’s beautiful for walls or cabinets too!