Home & Garden

Online, the new school of dorm decor

LEIGHDEUXDORM.COMLeighDeuxDorm sells much of what you would expect -- bedding, lighting, rugs -- but also offers less common items such as privacy curtain panels for showers and closets.
LEIGHDEUXDORM.COMLeighDeuxDorm sells much of what you would expect -- bedding, lighting, rugs -- but also offers less common items such as privacy curtain panels for showers and closets. THE WASHINGTON POST

Once my daughter turned in her college acceptance form, her next step was not combing through the course catalogue to figure out her classes; instead, she set out to find a roommate.

In my daughter’s case, she ended up finding a potential roommate through a friend of a friend. The two girls set up a time to iChat, and they decided that they were probably compatible. By the end of the conversation, they had even agreed on a periwinkle blue color scheme for their room.

For many students, something as simple as pre-coordinating duvet colors or deciding who will provide the room’s mini-fridge alleviates unnecessary anxiety, making the transition to college life that much easier.

There is still the stress of acquiring all of the stuff one needs for the dorm room. But today some online retailers specialize in making this easier.

DormItUp.com is one such company. It was launched three years ago by two cousins, Shanil Wazirali, 26, and Sagar Hemani, 24, had been overwhelmed by the cost and frustrated by the amount of stuff they needed to outfit their dorm rooms. Shanil explained in an email, “We didn’t want other students to be tricked into buying everything stores told them they ‘needed,’ overspending the way we did. We took surveys on our own campuses to understand what students actually ended up buying versus using. We then curated packages to create a shopping experience that would be easy for parents and students to get the true essentials, all in one box.”

The company offers three packages: The most basic (mostly bedding and towels plus a much-needed clip-on fan) costs $175, a mid-range level is $239 (with added items including a shower caddy, flip flops, plastic dishes and a set of utensils), and a deluxe level is $299 (including a bulletin/whiteboard, computer speakers and a first aid kit). Buyers specify the package as well as color and pattern preference (there are 10 schemes to choose from). Dorm It Up delivers it for free to the student’s dorm.

Students who prefer a la carte shopping might prefer DormDo.com, which promises affordable prices for bedding, bath and laundry needs, organizing, decorating and studying supplies, and even security and safety products. The company says it can keep prices low because it started as a wholesaler that, with the advent of online shopping, began selling directly to the consumer. Almost everything ships within 24 hours for a flat $2.95 per order.

LeighDeuxDorm.com targets its high-end dorm room furnishings to the affluent sorority set. The company, based in Charlotte, was started in 2013 by Leigh Goodwyn and Leigh-ann Sprock after Goodwyn’s oldest daughter had difficulty finding stylish bedding in the XL twin size that the dorm beds required.

The two Leighs (hence the deux in the name) quickly realized there was a demand for upscale dorm furnishings. The company sells much of what you would expect -- bedding, bulletin boards, lighting, mirrors, rugs -- but also offers less common items such as privacy curtain panels for showers and closets and personalized removable wall monograms.

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