Best Friends Forever: Monica’s Apartment Through the Decades

Updated February 6, 2019
Monica's Apartment from Friends

Monica Geller’s apartment was beamed into the living rooms of millions of people for nearly a decade. It quickly became one of the most instantly-recognizable sets on TV.

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Even today, first-time homeowners too young to watch Friends the first time round are catching the re-runs and immediately ordering purple paint and gold frames for their interiors. But what if the Friends apartment had existed before the gaudy nineties even happened?

Our new image set illustrates how Monica’s apartment might have looked in each of the seven decades leading up to the first airing of Friends. Cue theme tune…

1920s

The roaring twenties was an optimistic moment, as the century’s early developments in modernism and mass media started to bear fruit. Homeowners turned to the first Hollywood films for ideas such as art deco furniture, and clean, bold lines and glossy surfaces. Imagine the splendor of The Great Gatsby in a New York waitress’s sixth-floor apartment.

1930s

Scandi-chic hit America in the 1930s, although the Wall Street Crash of ’29 meant that simple, natural-looking furniture was often an economic necessity. But in homes that could afford it (and Monica always seemed to have plenty of money) we’d see the introduction of new and exciting pieces like the Alvar Aalto chair pictured on the far right.

1940s

Abstract patterns on the rug and upholstery would have kept Joey hypnotized for hours were he not conscripted to go fight in World War 2. Meanwhile, Monica’s new tub dining chairs, would have kept everyone hanging around the kitchen table all day (if all the free food weren’t enough).

1950s

The bold turquoise palette of the 50’s would have brightened up Monica’s apartment, even when ‘the rain starts to fall’. But the highlight of the space would have to be the mid-century modern living room furniture gathered around the sleek coffee table. We can’t imagine anyone spending much time in a coffee house with a living room set this stylish.

1960s

The psychedelic 60’s would have seen an explosion of ‘far-out’ patterns and crazy colors invading the apartment. And we’re sure Ross would have loved the space-age lamp that would light up the room as the gang watch Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon.

1970s

The 70’s was a bold decade with lots of cultural clashes, so it’s no surprise that Monica’s apartment would reflect this with strong furniture colors and a (somewhat) clashing pinstripe wallpaper. But the Guzzini-style mushroom lamp would be a very fashionable choice for the decade and were sure it would help shine a light on whatever problems the friends were having that week.

1980s

Everything got bigger in the eighties: the hair, the appliances, the credit card bills. But Monica seems to have kept it quite subdued with this refined 80’s apartment. But with, the nineties just around the corner it could be time for a new wall color… maybe she should go pick up some purple paint?

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Sources:

 

1.   2014. Period Style – 1920s. bbc.com

2.   2017. The Great Gatsby: A Glorious Era in Furniture – Back Again! stoneycreekfurnitureblog.com

3.    2018. An Art Deco Interior Design Guide. thespruce.com

4.    Brown, L. 2017. Famous Modern Furniture Timeline 1920 – 1929. interiordezine.com

5.    2017. Mitchell, N. Think You Have it Bad? Here's What Kitchens Were Like A Century Ago. apartmenttherapy.com

6.    2014. Period Style – 1930s. bbc.com

7.    Brown, L. 2017. Famous Modern Furniture Timeline 1930 – 1939. interiordezine.com

8.    Wallender, L. 2018. Pictures of Kitchens From the 1930s and 1940s. thespruce.com

9.    Design by Decade – 1930s Lighting at Lightology. lightology.com

10.    Mitchell, N. 2017. Ever Wonder Why Today's Kitchens Look the Way They Do?. apartmenttherapy.com

11.    2016. The Beautiful World of 1940s Linoleum Flooring. vintageinn.ca

12.    Famous Modern Furniture Timeline 1940 – 1949. interiordezine.com

13.    Seawright, B. 2011. American Style Through the Decades: The Forties. apartmenttherapy.com

14.    Period Style – 1950s. bbc.com

15.    Famous Modern Furniture Timeline 1950 – 1959. interiordezine.com

16.    Mitchell, N. 2017. How A Decade of Domesticity Changed Our Nation's Kitchens. apartmenttherapy.com

17.    Martin, H. 2015. Galerie Kreo Showcases Vintage Light Fixtures. architecturaldigest.com

18.   Period Style – 1960s. bbc.com

19.   Design by Decade: 1960s Lighting. lightology.com

20.   2016. Home Decor of the 1960s. ultraswank.net

21.   1960s Decorating Style. retroplanet.com

22.   Deem, M. 2017. Children of the ’70s Will Remember These Home Trends. architecturaldigest.com

23.   Perry, K. 2017. The Decade That Taste Forgot: Lavish And Luxe Interiors Of The 1970s. allthatsinteresting.com

24.   2016. Five Common 1970s Decor Elements. ultraswank.net

25.   Mitchell, N. 2017. For This Brief Period, Kitchens Went Totally Wild. apartmenttherapy.com

26.   Deem, M. 2017. Children of the ’80s Will Remember These Home Trends. architecturaldigest.com

27.   1980s Decorating Style. retroplanet.com

28.   Dyas, B. 2017. Are 1980s Kitchens Making a Comeback? apartmenttherapy.com

Walker-Arnott, E. 2016. The Friends apartment number kept changing and we never even noticed. radiotimes.com

Baxter-Wright, D. 2018. People have been watching Friends for the first time and their reactions are priceless. cosmopolitan.com

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