The news out of Hollywood this weekend was sudden and sad.
Matthew Perry, who will forever be known for his unforgettable portrayal of the sarcastic but sweet Chandler Bing on the hit sitcom “Friends,” died at just 54.
Whether you identified with the high-strung Monica, played by Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow‘s loveable boho ditz Phoebe, or David Schwimmer‘s earnest, lovestruck Ross, many fans felt Perry’s Chandler was the most endearing of the tightknit bunch.
The genius of “Friends” was not simply the hilarious antics of the beloved characters but the show’s ability to teach a generation of watchers about forming a found family. The series also taught us how to live with roommates and cobble together a wide variety of furnishings into a semblance of home decor on small starter salaries.
Who didn’t want to plop down on Monica’s sofa or kick back on Chandler’s recliner after a long day?
Sure, the apartment’s generous square footage (in New York City’s West Village, no less) was hard to believe. Still, the actual contents did make sense, especially the silly items in Chandler’s place, which he shared with his best friend, Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc).
“One of my favorite parts of the show was that the apartments and furnishings played a role in the series,” says Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs. “Monica’s apartment was the home base that nurtured the whole group. However, the fact that Joey and Chandler set up their apartment to be fun and enriching of their humorous lifestyle was a fresh perspective.”
To help ease the pain of Perry’s unexpected death, here’s a tribute to that charmingly boyish apartment decor, which was equal parts comfy-cozy, quirky, and just plain goofy.
Who can forget the pair of matching plush recliners that Joey and Chandler would sink into with loud sighs? The soft leather BarcaLoungers on the show, two of the boys’ prized possessions, were made possible by Joey’s big check for his work on the soap “Days of Our Lives.”
The iconic loungers were a distinct upgrade from the beat-up patio furniture the duo used to have. The beaut ($280, Amazon) shown here is similar to the one on the “Friends” set and won’t break the bank either.
When this major decor piece is first introduced to the apartment’s decor in the episode titled “The One With the Dozen Lasagnas,” we can’t actually see it as Ross declares it “the most beautiful table I’ve ever seen.”
Yet when the camera shot widens, we see Ross is not admiring a dining or kitchen table at all—but a foosball game.
Monica asks if the boys will balance their plates on the foosball players’ little heads, and Joey says, “Who cares—we’ll eat at the sink!”
Yup, foosball is king, and eating standing up might be worth it to have a foosball table in your home. This one ($130, Amazon) even has its own cup holders. Who needs a dining table?
Apparently, the idea for putting a doodle board on the back of Chandler and Joey’s apartment door had a deeper meaning.
Hanging it was an idea that came from a cameraman, and the Magna-Doodle often sported messages that were inside jokes known only to the cast and crew. Early in the series, a short shopping list was seen on the board, though later silly faces would appear.
But the funniest message was probably the one written by the burglars who robbed the boys’ apartment: “Thanks for all your stuff!”
Get your whiteboard ($15, Target), and think of the smiles Chandler brings you every time you use it.
Laurel and Hardy poster
This reproduction vintage movie poster ($23, Etsy) of the iconic comic duo Laurel and Hardy hung in Joey and Chandler’s apartment for years, highlighting their ongoing bromance.
The monochromatic shot fits the boys’ aesthetic to a T.
Darts and foosball go hand in hand, of course, and young roommates in their first apartment might gravitate toward bar games as decor. Later in life, when a family might be around, throwing darts at will may not be so easy.
In one episode, the boys even have a heart-to-heart over Chandler’s girlfriend Janice (Maggie Wheeler), while Chandler furiously hurls the sharp objects. Play safely with your own set ($35, Amazon).
White dog statue
There’s a scene in “Friends” where Joey and Chandler enter Monica and Rachel’s (Jennifer Aniston) apartment, riding atop this white greyhound statue ($25, Amazon) while saluting and eating a sandwich.
In reality, it was apparently owned in real life by Aniston. She then gave it to the show’s set designers when she joined the cast, and it ended up living in the boys’ apartment behind the leather recliners.
“The ‘Friends’ living situations and continuous swapping of spaces and roommates was something that many of us could relate to in our own lives,” says O’Brien. “I think it highlighted how important home is to all of us.”