Probably one of the most memorable TV sets of my generation was Monica’s NYC apartment on the sitcom Friends. How an unemployed waitress and a cook (in the early days) could afford such a spacious apartment in New York City is beyond me but if I remember correctly, it somehow belonged to her grandmother. The decor *at least* was a better reflection of these 1990s 20-somethings’ dire financial situation.

The bright purple apartment heralded the arrival of shabby chic with its flea market finds and a feminine whimsy that says “anything-goes!” From its antique buffet-turned-TV-cabinet and Aubusson rug to its Parisian poster art, this apartment did evolve over time as you can see from the photos below. Recycling old fabric and furniture is important to the look and this is reflected in the evolution.

I was a starving student in the 90s so my first apartment may have taken inspiration from this influence. While ours was not so feminine, my roommates and I decorated with a mishmash of findings from Goodwill, Ikea and hand-me-downs from our parents’ home. It’s funny how en vogue Value Village was in both fashion and furnishing in the 90s.

I’m not really a fan of this look but could probably live with it if the colours were more simple and muted to reflect a more modern sensibility. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure this is how I am designing my cottage in my head. Hmmm. I guess I like it after all.
What do you think? How can you update this style? Are bright colours like this making a comeback?