The Inspired Hive

Inspiration for a creative home


Vintage train themed boys' bedroom

Toddler room with antique furniture, a touch of clean modern style, a train theme, and blue doors

We’ve been working on a fun project this summer- my oldest son’s room! I’ve mentioned before that our plan was to tackle all of the main living areas before moving on to the bedrooms, but our three and a half year old was quickly outgrowing his toddler bed, so we decided to side track a bit and work on his big boy room! Phase one of the downstairs is almost finished anyway, so we felt okay with a little detour from the plan. And to say my son was excited is an understatement! I let him help me pick the theme and the color scheme, and I think we are both so happy with how it all turned out!

Bedding, vintage train art, paint swatches, and brass hardware on mattress from The Futon Shop

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Product for this post was provided by The Futon Shop. All opinions are my own. For more information, see my disclosure policy.

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Let’s take a look at what his room looked like before.

When we moved in two years ago (Ahhh! How has it already been two years?!), life was a whirl wind. Leaving behind everything we had known for six years and moving long distance with a brand new baby and an 18 month old was no small feat.

Needless to say, we had to rush to create some functional kid spaces and then left it at that. Time was limited (and we were sleep deprived newborn parents surrounded by boxes 😉 ), so we needed to keep things simple. My oldest son’s room was already painted a grey color, so we left it alone since his furniture from our previous house was a dark grey.

Toddler room before
We were new to old-house living and weren’t sure if there might be lead paint in any of the many layers of paint on the original 100 year old floors, and we certainly weren’t in a place to restore the floors at the time. We opted to install an affordable, kid-friendly carpet to get us through a few years until we could invest the time and research to safely tackle the floors.

Toddler room before
There is an old brick chimney between the windows that someone coated with a thin layer of concrete and put built in shelves around. It’s nice that they added shelves since old houses often don’t have much storage, but in a toddler room, they actually pose quite the problem. My son liked to use them as a ladder, and would often take the small pegs out and throw them around the room. We ended up removing most of the shelves for safety reasons.

I would love to eventually remove the built ins and restore the underlying brick, but that will be a messy project, so we decided to wait until the kids are older. In the meantime, I’m going to add cabinet doors to the lower half of the built ins to allow us to use the storage space without worrying about the climbing problem as much.

Other than that, I threw a few things from his old room on the walls and called it done for now.

Toddler room before
His room has felt empty and boring for so long. It was long overdue for a fun makeover, and the need for a big boy bed was a good excuse to update it!

The Design Plan

I don’t believe in forcing my own decorating style on my kids, but when they’re this young, it’s easier to put the actual design and styling together yourself while still letting them help choose the theme and main colors.

My son was so excited to be involved in the process. He absolutely loves trains, so of course he chose trains as the theme. I am amazed by the things a three year old can teach me about trains.

His favorite color is blue, so I showed him several blue paint swatches and let him pick which one we used. He chose Sherwin Williams “Refuge,” which I think was an excellent choice! It’s a muted, dusty dark blue which has some slight green undertones in certain lighting.

My parents gave me the antique 1940’s twin beds that my sister and I used as kids, so I decided to use this as a starting point. I wanted a vintage vibe that would fit our antiqued home but that still felt fresh and modern. I decided to use a neutral color to “color block” the walls to create a clean, minimal feel that would add just a touch of modern.

Here’s the overall design plan I came up with…

Design mood board. Train themed toddler boy's bedroom with touches of vintage and modern. Color blocked walls, blue doors, and antique furniture.

The next step, and most important step in my opinion, was selecting a mattress.

My years of experience as a pediatric nurse make proper spinal support and development important to me. I wanted a high quality mattress that would support him as he grows.

I also never used to worry about choosing natural or organic mattresses. It never seemed necessary before, but with the growing popularity of mail order mattresses in a box, many mattresses are made with unhealthy materials and emit harsh fumes. It has become more important than ever to research the materials of the mattresses we allow our families to sleep on. Thankfully, there are also some great, healthy choices out there.

Mattress from The Futon Shop on antique bedframe

The Futon Shop provided a twin size Eco Wool Organic mattress with organic latex and microcoil core. We are so excited to have found a mattress in a box that is a nontoxic, healthy option made in the USA. I chose a medium firm density to support his growing spine.

We topped it with an organic wool mattress topper, which I must say is super comfortable and I want one for my own bed!

Mattress from The Futon Shop on antique bed frame

Once we moved the mattress and bed into the room, the tufted mattress was just so cute on the antique bed frame, it made me want to see everything else together. I put it all on the mattress and was so excited to see it all come together!

Flatlay photo of bedding, vintage train art, hardware, and paint swatches on a mattress from The Futon Shop

After- Vintage inspired train room

Ready to see how it all turned out?

Boy's bedroom with antique bed and blue dresser

It feels like a completely different space!

Boy's bedroom with built in cabinetry around old chimney. Blue dresser and denim rug. Train art.

We weren’t able to accomplish everything on the to-do list quite yet, but the important things are done, and it looks so good! (For instance, I wanted to replace that ceiling fan, but we couldn’t find any stylish low profile options that would work with the seven foot ceilings! Old house problems!)

The cabinet doors turned out to be more complicated than I thought they would be, but I am so happy with how they turned out. I ordered custom sized shaker doors from Since I knew I would be painting them, I chose paintable MDF for the inner panel because it is a cheaper option. It turned out to be tricky to get a smooth paint finish on MDF though, so I think in the future I would always choose solid wood doors.

We also had some trouble installing the hardware. I wanted inset doors, so I order concealed Euro hinges which took longer than expected to arrive and set my timeline back a week. The doors were pre-drilled for them, so that part was easy. However, the way the frame was built, we ended up having to shim the hinges out pretty far to make the doors align correctly. Lining them all up just right with shims was a little tricky. It worked out in the end, but it all took a lot of thinking! 

Built in shelving and cabinets around old chimney

I stained the upper shelves with “Nutmeg” gel stain from General Finishes. It turned out to be a close match to the antique bed frame. The stain adds some contrast to the otherwise bland built-ins. 

I chose unlacquered brass latches for the cabinet hardware. I thought latches might help deter small hands from playing with the doors too much, and they are also fitting for the time period our home was built in. Unlacquered brass is also a great choice for the age of our home, and it will patina over time to a beautiful aged brass. I found this reproduction hardware at House of Antique Hardware.

Unlacquered brass latch in vintage style on shaker cabinet door

I really love how the color blocking worked out. I had almost an entire gallon of Sherwin Williams “Agreeable Gray” leftover from another project, so I chose that as the neutral for the lower half of the room. I wanted the upper portion to blend seamlessly with the ceiling to help visually raise the low ceilings. I chose Sherwin Williams “Pure White.”

I think the large amount of white space really helps make the room feel taller, and that crisp clean line makes what would have been an entirely vintage styled room feel a little more modern. 

Boy's bedroom with antique bed, color blocked walls, denim rug, and blue dresser.

I had an Ikea Tarva dresser that I used as a coffee bar in our last house that we didn’t have a use for when we moved here. His previous dresser was too big for the room once we brought the twin bed in, so I decided to paint the Ikea dresser since it was smaller. I used the blue paint color that he picked out. It adds a fun pop of color to the room!

Blue dresser, brass lamp, and vintage train art

I found some fun vintage train prints (he loves learning about old steam engines) and some antique train items to use as decor. I wanted to add a touch of brass to this corner to tie in with the brass cabinet hardware. This pharmacy task lamp was the perfect fit! The brass hardware will eventually patina to a similar color and match well.

I would like to add something colorful to this corner to give it a younger more playful feel, but I have been practicing waiting for the right pieces rather than just buying something for the sake of filling space. So this little corner isn’t quite finished, but I love where it’s heading.

Blue dresser, brass lamp, and vintage train art

The bed. My favorite part! I love that he gets to use the bed that I used when I was little. The bed is antique, so it already feels storied, but it is even more special that it’s mine.

Boy's bedroom with antique bed, grey quilt, and blue pillow.

I chose some black and white striped sheets to add a touch of modern but with a slight farmhouse ticking stripe vibe (always fitting in an old farmhouse!). I picked a solid grey quilt because I thought I would be repurposing some of his old grey furniture and decor, however, I didn’t use any of it. The grey turned out to be a perfect fit though, and because it’s a solid color quilt, he will be able to use it for a long time, even once he grows out of the train phase.

Antique twin bed with grey quilt and blue pillow.

I added a touch of color to this corner with a subtle blue lumbar pillow and his cute orange friend, Mr. Fox. He has been really interested in clocks lately, so I found a super affordable basic clock to hang above the bed. 

Antique bed with blue pillow and fox stuffed animal

I thought the transition to a twin bed would be tough, but it’s actually been really easy. He’s so comfortable on his Eco Wool mattress and topper, he falls right to sleep. 

Truly, my favorite part of this room transformation has been the ability to crawl into bed together as a family to read books before bed. We used to have two separate bedtime routines for our two kids because there was nowhere to sit all together, but now we have a comfortable spot that’s big enough for all of us.

Sometimes my big guy and I sneak a quiet moment together for books while my younger son is napping too.

Reading books to toddler at bedtime. Boy's bedroom with antique bed, grey quilt, denim rug.

I’ve also been trying to incorporate “quiet time” for my older son where he can do an activity on his own for a bit while his brother is napping. Although he won’t nap anymore, I find that he still needs some down time to get through the day without getting cranky. I have found some creative activities he can do in his room and wanted to create a space for this.

I found a vintage kids’ table and chairs on Facebook Marketplace at a really affordable price. The wood color was wrong for the space, so I used gel stain to match the table to the bed, and then I spray painted the chairs black to tie in the black dresser hardware and other black accents in the room. 

Antique wood kids' activity table with black chairs

I added some twine and mini clothespins to create a space to hang his artwork. I found this colorful alphabet print which I may frame and put on his dresser, but I thought it was a fun addition to this spot until he does some more coloring to put on display.

Kid's artwork display. Blue door.

On the other side of the room is the door to enter the room and his two closet doors. If you’ve been following along for a while, you know I would love to replace the bedroom doors with antiques, but finding multiple doors in the same style and in good condition has been tricky. For now, painting the damaged hollow core doors is a fun update.

Blue doors. Kids activity table.

I really wanted to replace the bifold closet doors with shaker style doors that would flow better with the antique bedroom doors when I eventually find them, but unfortunately our short ceilings result in non-standard door sizes, so I couldn’t find what we needed. At some point, I will have some custom wooden doors built to fit, but for now, the blue paint looks much better and adds some color to the room. 

Blue doors. Kids activity table. Train track toys.

Overall, I am so happy with the room. I wanted to create a space that could grow with him. I’m still looking for a few more playful, colorful elements to add during these younger years, but I also incorporated some more mature decor too so that as he gets older, it will be easy to subtract the younger items without making big changes. 

I also made the themed items things that could easily be swapped out when he decides he likes something else. Changing a few picture frames and decorative accessories from trains to something else will be a lot easier than overhauling a whole room.

Boy's bedroom with vintage train art and blue doors.

I think it’s safe to say the train theme will last a while though 😉 If you ask him his favorite part of the room, it’s tied between the train pictures on the chimney and the blue doors.

Playing with toy trains in boy's bedroom. Denim rug and antique bed.

As always, thank you for joining me here, and thank you to those of you that followed this room journey with me over on Instagram. I would love to know what theme your kids’ rooms are and how you incorporated them in the process!


See something in this room that you love? I’ve linked to everything below!

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Vintage train themed boy's room with non-toxic organic mattress from The Futon Shop

Train themed toddler boy's bedroom with touches of vintage and modern. Color blocked walls, blue doors, and antique furniture.

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