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The ‘Friends’ Set Designer Explained Why Monica’s Apartment Is Purple & It Makes Total Sense

If there’s anything out there that has shattered millennials’ expectations of apartments they have in their 20s, it’s Monica Geller’s apartment on Friends. The spacious purple haven is part of the reason why so many fans still adore the sitcom, and although we may never achieve the financial status that would earn us that kind of apartment, we can still swoon over those iconic lilac walls. The Friends set designer has now revealed why he chose such a bright, unique color for the apartment, and it sounds like we have his decision to thank for the success of Friends. 

Cosmopolitan reports that production designer John Shaffner spoke to Great Big Story about putting together Monica’s apartment. He was responsible for creating sketch models of the sets for Friends’ pilot episode, and initially presented the model of the apartment in complete white. “The producer looked at it and said, ‘Well, now what are we going to do about color?'” Shaffner said. “And I said, ‘I think we should paint the set purple.’ Everybody was really anxious about it until I painted the little model purple.”

“Color is really important in terms of establishing the show identity,” he continued. “When you switch to Friends, you saw that it was purple and stayed tuned.”

So, basically, Shaffner totally got that choosing such a bold wall color fulfilled plenty of viewers’ wildest interior dreams. 

In the interview, Shaffner even addressed the mysterious door between the bathroom and the balcony in Monica’s home. The closet’s presence was never acknowledged on the show until the Season 8 episode “The One With The Secret Closet,” and Shaffner’s decision to add the door way back in Season 1 was his attempt to “look into the future.”

“We put a door all the way up this hallway, and we really didn’t say where it went to,” Shaffner said. “I said, ‘Why don’t we just wait and see where the story takes us?’ So all of a sudden, years into the show…they wrote an entire episode about [how] this was Monica’s messy closet.”

It’s definitely interesting to consider if we’d love Monica’s apartment just as much if it had boring, bare walls. Regardless, Shaffner clearly had a great decision in picking a color that would make viewers stop and settle in to watch Friends. 

Kristen Perrone is a Siena College Class of 2018 alumna. She studied English during her time at Siena.