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My Review of Sherwin Williams Passive

My Review of Sherwin Williams Passive

I’m not really sure how I have managed to neglect the subject of paint colors for so long, but in the 2.5 years that I have been blogging, I somehow have never written a post dedicated to the main paint colors of my home. Given I am still juggling several “half-finished” projects(and therefore have nothing new to show you), I thought today would be a great time to rectify my  paint post negligence by giving you my humble opinion of  Passive by Sherwin Williams.

If all of this turns out to be nothing more than  incoherent rambling, please forgive me as I am under the heavy influence of antihistamines which completely knock me on my a$$, but are unavoidable for me this time of year (gotta love spring time in Tennessee).

So here goes nothing…

Three years ago,before I had developed interior design instincts of my own, I looked to Joanna Gaines as my decorating mentor:  if she endorsed a product…I was blindly all about it. So when I was on the hunt for a neutral paint color for our fixer upper home, of course the first action I took was researching JoJo’s favorite paint colors.  When I  came across an interview where she mentioned Passive by Sherwin Williams as one of her favorite neutrals, I knew I had to go out and purchase  a sample.

sherwin williams passive paint color

From the sample, I  could see that Passive was a light grey paint with cool undertones. To my delight,  that was exactly the refreshing relief I was looking for after spending years in a home painted with beige walls so warm, the color was beginning to smother me.

What almost gave me a nervous breakdown, however,  is when the painter began applying the first coat of Passive to the walls of our fixer upper.You see… it looked as though the paint company had screwed up the formula by giving us some sort of baby blue  concoction. Even the painter seemed apprehensive about the color. That is…until it dried and the trim, which was originally painted “cinnamon roll” by the previous owners,  was transformed with a fresh coat of white paint. That is when I knew it was the light grey paint I had been looking for.

light grey paint colors

Having lived with this cool grey for three years now, I feel like I am pretty much an expert . Specifically,  I have  noticed how much this particular color can change with lighting conditions, trim color and general decor color scheme.

When natural light is not at its brightest in a space but sunlight is still present, the color looks like a true grey as pictured below…..

Sherwin Williams Passive

However, when the natural light of my living room is at its brightest, with sunlight pouring in from two different walls and directions, Passive almost takes on the form of a white paint -providing just enough of a grey undertone to contrast with white trim- as you can see in the photo below…..

Sherwin Williams Light grey paint Passive

In early morning light and on rainy days, the blue undertones of Passive are more apparent and the color reads more icy….

best neutral paint colors


My Conclusion on Sherwin Williams Passive:

All in all, if you are looking for a light grey paint color with cool undertones (blues without any purple), I think Passive is a pretty solid choice. Having lived with it for years now, I can personally say that I enjoy it more in rooms with plenty of natural light. I don’t think it is as impressive of a color in small spaces or rooms with little natural light. Also keep in mind that Passive is a bit of a chameleon color and greatly influenced by trim and decor colors. In my opinion, this neutral  looks best against true white trim with no pigmentation. If  Passive is paired against warm whites or off whites, it reads a little too blue for my taste.

If you are craving light, airy and neutral, you might want to give Passive a try. If warm and cozy vibes are more of your preference, you probably won’t want to waste your time with this shade of grey.

Still not convinced that this is your perfect shade of grey? Check out this guide on choosing the perfect grey paint , written by one of my favorite interior designers.

Hopefully I was able to provide a nugget of paint wisdom to you today despite being completely out of my mind on allergy meds. For my next post, I promise to share some “sexier” topics with you (think: new kitchen countertops, Roman’s room reveal).

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Now get out there and design some good vibes!



My journey in interior design and home improvement began with transforming my first fixer-upper home, all while managing a budget and raising two young boys. My work, a reflection of my passion for creating beautiful, uplifting spaces, has been recognized by top publications like Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, HGTV, and more. I invite you to explore my site and witness the transformation of my home and the vibes we've designed.Read more...


Monday 23rd of April 2018

what color white did you go with? Thank you!

Designing Vibes

Tuesday 24th of April 2018

Hi Kristi! All of these photos are my walls in Sherwin Williams Passive. Although.... I did just paint my kitchen white with Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace. ;)