Design A Dream Dorm Room With Leighdeux Collection
When faced with the prospect of an institutional bed and cinder block walls, one must get creative. Let’s be honest, dorm rooms are not known for their chic interior aesthetic.
Enter an enterprising mom and her colorful daughter. In 2012, Carson Goodwyn was accepted to boarding school in Virginia. Although the campus was hundreds of years old and extraordinarily beautiful, the space that she would occupy in her assigned dorm was anything but.
Carson and her mother, Leigh Goodwyn, began thinking about how they could decorate her dorm room while also making it comfortable and functional. They started with the bed. “The bed is the base of your dorm space, so you want to design that first and build a look around it,” says Goodwyn. One thing Carson wanted was a headboard. But she knew she would loft her bed to maximize the storage space underneath. Goodwyn began thinking about how to source a traditional wooden headboard with feet tall enough to extend to the top of a lofted dorm bed. Nothing like that existed in the market and designing something custom would result in a piece so large it could not easily make the trip to school. To make matters more difficult, the school had cinder block walls in most of the dorms. The idea of hanging a headboard on the wall was out of the question.
“At that point I had an a-ha moment,” said Goodwyn. “I thought to myself, the headboard should be a pillow.” Goodwyn then went about designing a pillow shaped like a headboard. The original design was candy pink cotton with white piping and monogrammed with her daughter’s initials in the center. “It was super cute and all of my friends loved it,” said Carson. Soon other students were calling to inquire where they could purchase the pillow that looked like a headboard… and a dorm decor business was born.
Eight years later, LeighDeux has 10 different design collections and manufactures not only a variety of pillow headboards but also duvets, shams, bed skirts, blankets, towels, throw pillows, bean bag cubes and wall art. It’s sold online at www.leighdeux.com and also to the design trade. Originally conceived as a dorm line, LeighDeux now also offers queen sizes and custom kings.
The line is colorful with bold prints and patterns. The use of bold color was derived from Carson’s affinity for pinks and lavenders but also because color can hide the wear and tear of constant use. Goodwyn explains, while customers often think they want a white bedroom, neutral shades are more challenging in the dorm. They tend to show dirt more quickly and just don’t wear as well long term.
Goodwyn also works with a number of designers to create looks that appeal to the college market. They are known for their collaborations with local artists and their collections are all original designs, many derived from pieces of art. Goodwyn says keeping up with college trends is key. “We want to offer products that are chic and on trend. College kids are savvy and want to create dreamy space. Our goal is help them achieve that with artistic designs, textures and colors.”
This past summer Goodwyn collaborated with world renowned model and actress Angie Harmon. “Angie has always loved the use of skull designs in home decor,” says Goodwyn. “The meaning behind the design is that beneath it all we are the same.” Together the two designed nine unique skull patterns that were transformed into pillows and soft good accessories. “We thought this would be well received amongst the college crowd and beyond! We were right,” says Goodwyn. Due to Angie’s international fame, the company has received orders from all over the world.
The entire line is designed and milled in America with all of the printing and sewing done in North Carolina. “Our made in America moniker was important to me,” says Goodwyn. Although Goodwyn was a career media executive, her family’s roots are in textile machinery manufacturing. “I wanted to create a line made here, to support the industry that is so important to our region.”
Goodwyn also wanted to give back. She wanted to build a mission-driven business by creating a scholarship program for deserving young women. She partnered with the Shuford Program for Excellence In Entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to develop the LeighDeux scholarships. Since 2015, LeighDeux has awarded two scholarships per year to female students pursuing entrepreneurship. “We’re making beds and making a difference,” says Goodwyn.
LeighDeux’s collections have been featured in O Magazine, Better Homes & Garden Magazine, The Washington Post, and numerous regional publications and design blogs. Goodwyn has been featured on a number of television segments including CNBC’s The Elevator Pitch.