How To Decorate Your Apartment Like Rachel And Monica's In Friends

According to NBC News, watching an episode of "Friends" is like eating your favorite meal or getting a warm hug from your mom. The show has been a source of comfort for millions of fans worldwide for decades due to its realistic portrayal of love and life in twenty-something friendship circles. People see themselves as such a Monica when they feel the need to be in control and organize. Or such a Phoebe when they are free spirits full of compassion for the people close to them. Or they feel like a Ross when they insist to their significant other that they really were on a break.   

Almost as iconic as the personality traits of the six main characters is Rachel and Monica's apartment. This living space has been the subject of speculation over the years. While many doubt the friends could afford the rent for such a spacious Greenwich apartment, viewers love the cute style and cozy atmosphere (via Julep). Keep reading for interior trends that still work from the show. These tips and tricks will help you recreate Rachel and Monica's iconic New York City apartment at home.

The classic gold frame around the peephole is a must

The golden frame around Rachel and Monica's peephole is one of the most iconic elements of the hit sitcom. Luckily, it's also one of the easiest things to recreate at home. According to Salvaged Living, any old frame will do, as you can easily paint a frame gold, no matter its material. If you pop out the back and place it around the peephole, you will have one just like Monica and Rachel.

Give this trend a modern update by adding a layer of security to your peephole. In some cases, people can look through the outside of a peephole instead of the other way around. You can combat this by placing a slider over the actual peephole to ensure it only works one way or switch to a digital viewer with a display screen instead (via Burglar Free Zone).

Paint your walls purple

The iconic apartment wouldn't be complete without its signature purple walls. According to Great Big Story on YouTube, "Friends" production designer John Shaffner originally designed the apartment with white walls. However, during a design meeting, a producer assumed color hadn't been added yet and asked about color plans for the set of "Friends." This question led Shaffner to suggest the iconic purple, which the team wasn't so sure about at the beginning. However, he knew the show needed a signature look, so he created one that stuck. "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."

If you want to recreate the look at home, purple is an incredibly versatile color. Its presence can brighten and calm any space, depending on the shade. For example, periwinkle and lavender can act as a neutral backdrop for bolder tones, while royal eggplant makes a bold statement (via Elle Decor).

Use neutral furniture to anchor bold walls

The white couch in Monica's apartment in "Friends" was a calming contrast to her purple walls. If you paint your home the iconic "Friends" purple, the next step is to balance things out with a neutral couch. According to Good Housekeeping, white furniture is a perfect blank canvas to use in any room. You can style it in almost any fashion with the help of throw pillows, blankets, and even pillow shams. While Rachel and Monica keep things pretty minimal, you can expand on the white couch and add pops of purple or even change things seasonally. 

It's easy to change your mind if you have a white couch, as you can swap out the accessories you pair with it depending on the season. You shouldn't be nervous about potential wear and tear to white furniture. With the right supplies, keeping it clean is the same as any other piece of furniture, especially if you have machine washable cushion covers (via The Beauty Revival).

Add a cozy armchair that's big enough for two

You can never have too many cozy seating options in your living space. In addition to the famous white couch, Monica and Rachel also have a large armchair in their living room that has seen its fair share of romance, drama, and laughs. According to Homes to Love, it's best to be selfish while choosing the perfect armchair for your home. Contrary to the use of the chair on "Friends," chairs are less communal than couches, so choosing the best one for you is more personal.

Like on the show, you might consider selecting a chair that contrasts with your couch to add visual flair to the space. If you are working in a relatively small room, think about a chair with defined legs rather than a solid base to keep things from feeling too crowded. Consider the trendiest ways to style a white sofa. Finally, think about all the positions you might take when reading a good book and if that chair would accommodate them. You don't sit straight up most of the time in a good armchair.

Anchor your living space with a large rug

It is a good thing the "Friends" apartment is rent-stabilized because their large living room rug must have cost Monica and Rachel a fortune. However, it's a great visual trick to anchor the space and make it look larger. It's easy enough to recreate this look at home. According to Impressive Interior Design, when choosing a rug for your living space, it needs to be large so that all pieces of furniture fit onto it entirely. Or it needs to be just large enough so that the front two legs of each furniture piece sit on the rug.

If you have an open layout apartment like Rachel and Monica, a large rug like this is also helpful in adding definition to a space. For example, the spacious rug in "Friends" clearly signals that the eating and dining space has ended and it is time to relax on the couch.

Use a round kitchen table to save space in your kitchen

Monica and Rachel have a combination kitchen plus dining room, which isn't that uncommon for places like New York City, where you have to make every square foot of your living space count. Since Monica was so aware of every item in her apartment having a specific place, it makes sense that she would use a rounded table to save on space.

According to Urban Rhythm, rounded tables are an ideal choice for areas in the home with a high amount of foot traffic because they contribute to the flow more than a table with sharp corners. Round tables also enhance the conversations of those sitting around it, as you can see and hear everyone at once, so you don't feel cut off from the conversation. On a show as social as "Friends," this aspect makes a lot of sense. Finally, even if many people are sitting around a circular table, it feels less crowded since you're not sitting in a straight line, pressed against each other like at a long table.

Mismatched kitchen chairs are a total vibe

More and more, just like Monica and Rachel, people are choosing an array of different seating options for their dining room table. While they didn't plan this look on purpose (the whole apartment has a boho-chic "we found this at a flea market in college" kind of feel), it is a style. According to Grain & Frame, pairing unexpected pieces together in your home can add a much-needed dramatic flair to the space.

When pairing chairs together, make sure the chairs sit at the same level. You don't want you and your dinner mates to be lopsided while sharing a meal. It won't be too noticeable if the difference is less than an inch. However, anything more than that will be awkward. In addition, when adding chairs, try to focus on pairs. Even if you have a bit of a hodge-podge collection, there is still some order and symmetry.

Think about a distressed bed frame, like Monica

We don't spend too much time in Monica's bedroom throughout the series, but when we see her bed, its distressed wood is the peak of 1990s fashion. According to Tomorrow Sleep, if you don't want to purchase distressed furniture, the look is easy enough to recreate at home. The process of weathering furniture is technically a refinishing technique.

To start, you'll need to sand the entire piece to ensure it is nice and smooth. If you have a queen-size bed like Monica, this process could take a while. Next, you'll need to paint the piece. Use one color if you want the wood to show through the weathering marks. However, if you want a second color, you'll need to do the base coat, let it dry, and then add the secondary color on top. Once dried, you can distress the furniture with steel wool and sandpaper. If you want the paint to stick to certain areas, apply wax.

Most modern NYC apartments don't have a tub, but this one does

If you want to take long bubble baths like Chandler, you're in luck because Rachel and Monica's apartment has a bathtub in the bathroom. According to The New York Post, many old New York City apartments have a bathtub in the kitchen. The city passed legislation in the early 1900s that said every single home in the area needed to have both a sink and a bathtub for sanitary reasons.

Back in the day, having plumbing in one room kept costs down. If you have an apartment from that period, your bathtub might be in a weird place. Whether you live in an apartment with a tub in the kitchen or no tub, you can install one in just one day. The project is about a medium on the DIY difficulty scale, so if you are savvy (or know someone who is), you won't need to bring in professional contractors (via Home Depot).

Display plants and flowers everywhere

Monica and Rachel display just enough greenery throughout their apartment to keep things fresh without making the space feel like an overcrowded jungle. According to interior designer Jessica Welling Interiors, when selecting plants for your living space, you don't have to go with live ones if you feel like it will be too much work. Faux plants work well not only for beginners but also for rooms without too much natural light.

You can show your personality and decorating style through plant pots since they come in different fun shapes, colors, and textures. However, you don't have to stop there when styling visuals. When selecting plants, you can choose ones with different shaped leaves, different shades of green, and unique markings. For example, succulents have short, thick dark leaves, while snake plants have long, slender leaves with white markings. Get creative with your plant selections and have some fun going green.

Consider old advertisements as wall art

Monica's "Jouets" post was a constant throughout the series, hanging in the background for almost all of the big moments on "Friends." If you want to recreate the look at home, any vintage advertising poster will do. According to Collins English Dictionary, a jouet is a toy played with by a child. This toy could be anything from a doll to a model car or something similar. It's easy to find vintage posters at flea markets, estate sales, and even most poster shops.

However, if you want to recreate Monica's exact poster or style vintage artwork of your own, it's easy enough to do at home. If you have Adobe Photoshop or a similar photo editing program, you can recreate the vintage look, even down to the distressed paper. Once done, you can take your file to an office supplies store to print on high-quality paper, and no one will ever be the wiser that you didn't find it at a flea market in France (via Design Cuts).

Organize your dry goods with jars

No matter the space you have in your apartment, it's still totally possible to keep things tidy. As a chef, Monica keeps a well-stocked and organized kitchen, even if it is small. Monica doesn't even really have an actual pantry, but her shelves have a unique jarring system that keeps everything in line. According to Grow Forage Cook Ferment, the key to a well-organized pantry space (even if it's just a few shelves) is using glass jars, like Monica.

This way, even without spending too much time labeling your jars, you still know what's inside each of them. The one exception to this is if you pickle things, as you'll need to note down the date you sealed it somewhere on the outside. Remember, however, that you don't need to use all the same size jars to stay uniform. Instead, use large ones for the things you think you will use most and smaller jars for rarer items. Finally, remember that these jars need to be air-tight! Monica Geller would never have ants in her kitchen, so consider food safety with your storage choices.

Lit in natural light with windows

The wall of windows in the back of the apartment was good for more than just spying on the ugly naked guy. They also let a lot of good light into the space. If you want to add more windows to your home, it's quite a complex project. According to Angi, enlarging a window can cost between $2,000 and $3,000, but the exact price varies based on the window type, the shape and size, and the brand.

It's not really a project that you can DIY, so you will need to factor in labor costs for professional contractors. However, to get the Rachel and Monica look without spending the cash, consider leaving your window bare without any curtains or blinds to enjoy the city views, just as they do throughout the series. You'll notice that, even though the large glass panel faces the street, the curtains are usually left open.

Enjoy coffee on a low-lying table

While you have to use a coaster to enjoy a drink at Monica's coffee table, you can sip a cup of coffee while sitting on the ground. Sitting on the floor around a low-lying coffee table makes a room feel more secure, cozy, and intimate. According to Wayfair, the standard height for a modern coffee table is between 16 and 18 inches high. However, the table height in your home should always have less to do with these averages and more to do with the surrounding furniture height. It's best to choose a table that complements your couch.

Measure the top of your couch or chair's cushions, and then select a table that is about an inch, or no more than two, lower. If you want to sit on the floor like characters in "Friends" often do, you'll want a low couch to keep things in proportion.