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Favorite Makeovers

Industrial Locker Makeover

I've been racking my brain for a storage solution for my youngest's bedroom and played with the idea of creating a custom shelving system. But then... I found a set of old metal gym lockers and I thought, "Nah.. this would be more fun." :) Another plus? Metal lockers are slim so they offer quite a bit of vertical storage space without sticking out. Painting and repurposing old metal lockers is a great way to create an industrial look for a small space!


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I love the idea of reusing a piece of history and up cycling it to fit a need. So, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the inexpensive price tag on this set of lockers. It fit both the need AND the want. ;)
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It doesn't show in this picture, but the lockers came with the original dial combination locking mechanisms. These were salvaged from a high school gym remodeling project. Those high school girls were so good to me. I only had an "I love John.",  one gum wad, and a few stickers to contend with. These were in such great shape, I couldn't believe it.

DIY Painted Metal Locker Tutorial


Refinishing Metal Locker Supplies:


(Some of the links below are affiliate links for your shopping convenience. 

Step 1: Clean The Metal Lockers

I started the makeover process by wiping it down with a mixture of bleach and water (directions on bleach bottle) and a good scrub brush. When they were dry, we customized the lockers by taking the backing off and top two doors off. This was a personal styling preference. I liked how open and airy it made the unit feel.


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Step 2: Tape Off The Metal Locker Hardware

Tape off your locker numbers or any hardware that you don't want painted.


Step 3: Paint Lockers With Spray Paint

We used three cans of Rust-Oleum Auto Primer to give the lockers an inexpensive base coat on the sides, inside and ceilings of the unit. It was the perfect base color for an industrial cabinet. Once dry,

 we went over those same spaces with Rust-Oleum Metallic Paint & Primer in One.


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Step 4: Use Dark and Clear Wax To Create Contrast

Annie Sloan's Dark and Clear Wax was used to create a muddy and worn look.


Step 5: Re-attach the Metal Locker Hardware and Locks

We unscrewed the back of the locking mechanism so that my guy could still have the look of the vintage locks without actually having to unlock each locker.



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This was a simple weekend project that took minimal effort and money but gave an incredible fun return. And of course the cherry on top was watching his face light up when I showed him this!



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We are in cleaning mode at our house and having a brand new place to store books, toys and "stuff" brought out an, "I promise I'm gonna keep my room really clean, Mom!"

.... Yeah, right. ;)


Visit our DIY Rustic Desks for another spacer saver idea! Or check out our idea for Displaying Your Child's Art in Style

Happy Organizing & Happy Fall to you!
Carrie || Thirty Eighth Street


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24 comments

  1. Gorgeous and it's a really nice touch taking the doors off in some places. I've been looking for a locker every where in South Africa and can't find one anywhere. It's not something that you see here. Oh well I'm going to pin this and carry on looking. Thanks for the share.

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    1. Thank you, Michelle! Lockers are difficult to find even in some areas of the US. I've got my fingers crossed for you- have faith and keep looking! :)

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  2. This is an amazing and highly functional piece. Kudos to you for finding it and for restoring it to such a beautiful piece. Thanks so much for linking to Friday's Furniture Fix. We love having you share with us. XO Susie from The Chelsea Project

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  3. What a great project! The lockers look wonderful and they are so functional. Pinned and tweeted. Thanks for sharing at Snickerdoodle Sunday!

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    1. We have enjoyed these lockers. :) Thanks so much for sharing them! Have a great week, Beverly!

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  4. I love this! It would be cool for a kids bedroom, or a mudroom, in almost any house. It would be so cool and would match our style. I bet your son loves it! And it's so cool that you put the locks back on, it adds so much to the style! Love it.

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    1. My son's eyes lit up when he saw it. It's a fun piece!

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  5. Love this!

    Thanks for linking up with Welcome Home Wednesdays!

    liz @ j for joiner

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  6. Ah! I am in love with this! Such a wonderful find, I need to be on the lookout now for some lockers. You did a beautiful job upcycling it into an awesome storage piece. Pinning!

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    1. I hope you find some! :) Thank you for sharing!

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  7. You gave those lockers a fabulous makeover! They look so great, and I love that you removed some of the doors. Thanks so much for sharing at Vintage Charm.

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    1. It makes me happy to find something old and unloved and give it a facelift. This one fit the bill! :)

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  8. It's great you gave old lockers new life. I am sure your son will enjoy them for many years to come. You did a beautiful job painting them!
    Julie @ Love My Simple Home

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  9. Finds like this don't come around very often, congrats!

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    1. It's true! Depending on what area you live they can be tough to find!

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  10. Ok we are going to give you the cool mom award right now! I think any kid would want this in their room, it is fun and functional! Thank you for providing us with some Sweet Inspiration, albeit of the industrial kind.

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    1. I'm laughing! I'm going to add "cool mom" to my resume. :) Thanks for making my day, Mary!

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  11. What a find! I am sure your son loves this look and the storage space in his room! I think every Mom wishes that they could find a great solution for their kids' rooms! They look great! Thanks so much for sharing at the Celebrate Your Story! link party.

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    1. Thank you, Chloe! He does love them. Now, I need a magic solution for the toys to get put BACK into the lockers. ;)

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  12. What a beautiful makeover! I just love lockers, don't you?

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  13. Yes! Functional and they have personality! ;) Thanks, Meegan!

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