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School lockers go from drab to fab

  • LockerLookz and other companies have started making carpet and magnetic decorations designed to decorate the interior of a school lockers.

    Terry Spearman / LockerLookz

    LockerLookz and other companies have started making carpet and magnetic decorations designed to decorate the interior of a school lockers.

  • A clock is almost a necessary addition to a school locker.

    A clock is almost a necessary addition to a school locker.

  • LockerLookz offers chandeliers, rugs and organizational products.

    Terry Spearman / LockerLookz

    LockerLookz offers chandeliers, rugs and organizational products.

  • A decorative bin looks great and helps to organize the small space.

    A decorative bin looks great and helps to organize the small space.

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By Melissa Kossler Dutton
Associated Press
Published:
  • LockerLookz and other companies have started making carpet and magnetic decorations designed to decorate the interior of a school lockers.

    Terry Spearman / LockerLookz

    LockerLookz and other companies have started making carpet and magnetic decorations designed to decorate the interior of a school lockers.

  • A clock is almost a necessary addition to a school locker.

    A clock is almost a necessary addition to a school locker.

  • LockerLookz offers chandeliers, rugs and organizational products.

    Terry Spearman / LockerLookz

    LockerLookz offers chandeliers, rugs and organizational products.

  • A decorative bin looks great and helps to organize the small space.

    A decorative bin looks great and helps to organize the small space.

Kids, especially girls, have always hung photos, mirrors or handmade decorations in their school lockers. Now, retailers are giving them the option of buying coordinated locker trimmings that would make interior designers jealous.
Options include carpeting, chandeliers, wallpaper and a variety of accessories in bold, bright colors. Everything adheres magnetically so the products don't damage the lockers.
The trend gives kids a chance to express themselves in a venue that's more public than their bedroom.
"The locker becomes an extension of them and their personal space," said Christy Clapper, a school counselor at Quaker Valley Middle School in Sewickley, Pa.
"The lockers are a disgusting color," said Kira Harvey, a soon-to-be eighth-grader in Albuquerque, N.M.
Choices range from lime-green polka dots to aqua zebra stripes to pink cheetah prints.
She also uses some of the organizational accessories to hold her cellphone and pencils.
Product creators Christi Sterling and JoAnn Brewer started their company, LockerLookz, in 2010 after creating some handmade pieces to decorate their daughters' lockers.
Soon other students' parents started asking where they could buy them.
The friends decided to test-market a few products and were overwhelmed by the response.
"We found that locker decorating is a rite of passage. It's a really big deal to them," said Sterling of Plano, Texas. "They need to show others who they are."
Paul Buckel got the idea to create magnetic wallpaper when his daughter's friend got in trouble for covering her locker with contact paper. Buckel, who runs a company, Magna Card, in DuBois, Pa., that makes magnetic business cards and other promotional products, saw locker decorations as an exciting new merchandise line.
Dee Tipps, owner of a boutique called a.k.a. Girl Stuff in Birmingham, Ala., says she "started jumping up and down" when locker decorations caught her eye. The LockerLookz decorations flew off shelves last summer, she said, thanks mostly to middle-school girls.
"It's like somebody has opened a safe full of diamonds," she said.
Caroline McCormick, 12, remembers walking into Tipps' boutique. "The first thing I thought was, 'How can I get this for my locker?'" she said. "I wanted to make my locker be a symbol of me. I didn't want my locker to look like everyone else's."
She also was happy that she could cover the locker's dreary gray metal interior.
After decorating the space with a white chandelier, blue carpet and black-and-white wallpaper, Caroline considered her locker "a room that's away from my house."
A total package from Lockerlookz costs about $109, including magnets, wallpaper, a mirror, a chandelier, a rug, an accessory bin and a locker flower. Items also are sold individually. Four panels of wallpaper including the magnets, for example, are $22.99 on the website.
Buckel said schools have gotten behind the products, especially because they don't damage the lockers. Some schools in his area have hosted decorating contests, he said.
The organizational products are great for kids, said Clapper, the school counselor, who tries to teach students that an organized locker can contribute to academic success.
"We actually spend a lot of time teaching them appropriate ways to organize their lives and their space," she said. "Some kids coordinate everything. Others, you can only imagine what their bedrooms look like."


Story tags » Education & SchoolsFashionInterior decorating

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