Here’s Why Monica’s Apartment Walls Were Purple On ‘Friends’
The show's production designer breaks down the iconic set!
“Friends” may have completed its award-winning run 14 years ago, but thanks to the wonders of Netflix, we can dive right back into the daily adventures of our beloved besties, day or night.
That means a lot of quality time in the iconic New York City apartments of the main characters. When you think of Monica’s apartment, for example, what’s the first thing you picture?
One detail that “Friends” fans have highlighted over the years are the apartment’s bold, purple walls. Roommates come and go, relationships grow and falter, but the purple walls remained a constant for 10 seasons.
A new video from Great Big Story’s Human Condition series gives us a few more answers about those lovely lavender walls. The video series aims to reveal the “most peculiar, stirring, extraordinary, and distinctive people in the world.”
This particular clip looks at John Shaffner, who is the production designer who created the iconic set for “Friends.” In fact, he was the one who suggested purple walls from the get-go; a decision that obviously stuck.
Take a look into Shaffner’s creative process below.
According to Shaffner, the set for “Friends” started like any other, with a miniature model made of white paper. It’s basically comparable to your kid’s diorama project for school — but with slightly higher stakes.
“When we were presenting “Friends,” I presented a white model. And the producer looked at it and said, ‘Well, now, what are we gonna do about color?'” Shaffner said in the interview with Great Big Story. He suggested painting the apartment’s walls purple, which freaked the rest of his team out a bit.
But once they saw the model decked out in purple, they jumped on board with his idea.
In the video, Shaffner said he chose purple because it was eye-catching in the days when people would click through TV channels one at a time in search of something to watch.
“Color is really important in terms of establishing the show identity,” Shaffner said. “When you switched to ‘Friends,’ you saw that it is purple and you stayed tuned.”
Shaffner clearly knew what he was doing. He’s worked on dozens of series as production designer, including “The Drew Carey Show,” “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “George Lopez,” for which he won an Emmy in 2005.
Shaffner was right on target with his design choices because, clearly, we’re still tuning in today!
The next time you paint a room in your house would you consider a can of purple, in honor of Monica?