The ‘Friends’ Set Designer Finally Confesses Who Created All Those Etch A Sketch Messages in Joey and Chandler’s Apartment

When it comes to decorating an apartment in your early 20s in New York, there are few better examples than the living rooms of Friends (except, of course, for the fact that they had much, much more space…).

Ahead of the show’s 25th anniversary (how?!), Friends set designer Greg Grande chatted with People about how exactly he and his team created some of the show’s most iconic interior design looks. He also revealed the real story behind all of those Etch A Sketch messages. All we can say is finally.

You might remember the Etch A Sketch on the back of Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Chandler’s (Matthew Perry) door for its silly cartoon drawings or notes like “Joey, call Estelle!” It turns out that each message was a little inside joke between the cast and crew.

Grande recalled, “We had one of the crew members on the show who was actually really good at doing that Etch A Sketch, so every week he’d create a new drawing and an in-house story that pertained to that week for some reason or another. It wasn’t necessarily for any story point, but maybe something that had happened in rehearsal. Every week that changed too.”

Aside from being fun, the little touch gave fans further insight into what went on in the characters’ lives when we weren’t watching.

So what else did we learn? Grande went on to add that he cultivated Monica’s “eclectic” home design style by scouring thrift stores and the Warner Bros. prop house. “Monica really couldn’t afford a matched set of dining table chairs, but it was meant to be that the character had a really good eye and was really meticulous and creative, so her Sundays were spent in New York in these parking lot swap meets and she did a lot of mixing and matching,” Grande recalled.

And when it came to the Central Perk coffee shop, Grande and his team opted to switch up the flowers, wall art and posters every three or four episodes. Starting in season two, they even began creating logos for made-up coffee brands that could be seen in the background.  

Now that’s dedication. 


Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.