There are a lot of iconic things about the hit 1990s sitcom, Friends. From the cast to the Central Perk coffee shop and that beloved “Pivot!” scene, the series continues to live on in the memories of fans everywhere. Oh, and Netflix. But perhaps one of the most iconic elements of Friends is the apartment. Not Joey and Chandler’s, though. Monica and Rachel’s apartment; although technically, it’s Monica’s (well, her grandmother’s, but whatever, we’ll let it slide). And now, we know why Monica’s apartment walls are purple, and it isn’t because it was “a girl apartment,” as Rachel would say.
No, according to production designer John Shaffner, the idea behind the purple walls was basically a way to make the show stand out. In a video explaining how he designed the set, Shaffner said, “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?’ and I said, ‘I think we should paint the set purple.'”
And then, it just worked. Of course, Shaffner said that everyone was pretty nervous at first, but once they saw him paint the white model’s walls purple, it all started to click.
Shaffner added that the purple walls soon became a core part of what Friends was. “Color is really important in terms of establishing the show identity,” he said in the video. “When you switched to Friends, you saw that it was purple, and you stayed tuned.”
Fans of Friends are probably pretty used to the purple walls, and if you’ve watched each episode at least 5 times like some people, wink wink, then you probably have just kind forgotten that purple walls are out of the ordinary.
But, they are, and that’s part of why Friends is so great.