Going Vintage with the Fireman Theme:
First let me say this:
As you probably know most of the fireman theme decor items out there are in the bright primary colors, and vintage fireman kid room theme items are a more subdued version of primary colors. But you can still get away with using the brights if you're a little crafty.
- Bedding, curtains and other fabric items - If these are not too bulky or heavy and are washable, you can tea stain them to give them the vintage look. You can do this with an actual tea bath (buy the cheapest tea bags you can find), or you can buy a dye such as Ritz dye in a tea stain color or a dirty beige. joann.com has a tea dye, Ritz powder and liquid dye and some others. If it's something too big for a dip in the sink, you could do it in the bathtub, or washer, or go to the laundromat.
- Painted furniture and wall decor type items - These can be 'antiqued' to give them a vintage fireman kid room theme look by using antiquing medium (you can buy Delta Ceramcoat Brown Antiquing Gel at joann.com which is my favorite and is easy to use - it really goes a long ways because it doesn't take much) or you can use a stain or brown paint with glaze for a wash which can be a bit more intimidating to do.
(Apply Antiquing Medium gently with a soft cloth (old t-shirts work great) to a finished item; wipe off excess with a clean cloth, rubbing to lighten the color in the center and working out to the edges. Allow to dry thoroughly.) Doing this will help these brightly colored items blend in with your vintage fireman kid room theme.
Off the Floor and On the Walls
If your son's room is small, go for decor & storage on the walls and in the dresser/hutch. If you seem to be collecting lots of small toys, try one of those hanging mesh toy hammocks that fit in the corner of the room. If you need containers on the hutch for storage, just select something that will coordinate.
Remember, everything in the room doesn't HAVE to be vintage fireman kid room theme related. You can use non themed items, as long as the colors tie them into the theme.
The Fireman's Ladder:
I like the idea of the ladder on the wall. Placing it on the floor and leaning against the wall would be unsafe for a toddler and take up some of that limited floor space.
If you hang it horizontally on the wall and put somes hooks on it, you can use it to hang clothes from, or even wallhangings hung from cords or rope. If you have the space, hang your smaller prints, photos or other wallhangings on the wall in the space between the rungs.
If your ladder isn't really big enough to screw hooks into, cut pieces of yellow nylon rope that you get at the hardware store, loop them around the ladder and tie in a knot and use 'S' hooks to hang things from.
Another idea for the ladder would be to use it as a valance if it is close to the same width as the window. Use wooden rod brackets for the lower part, placing the ladder in the scoops that would hold the rod. Then lean the top part of the ladder against the wall. I would also recommend fastening it to the wall with a couple screws and also tie or screw it to the wooden brackets.
Now you can hang fireman related stuff from it, including beanbag toys, small trucks, toy fireman equipment etc. If it sticks out on each side of the window a ways, hang a fireman's hat on one end, and a firefighter's kids costume from the other end.
WallNutz Paint By Number Mural Kits -- No artistic ability required! There's a dalmation with bowl and dog bone, or a complete scene with the dog and a firetruck, which are perfect for a vintage fireman kid room theme.
If you've already painted your walls you may not be interested in this mural kit. But I was thinking maybe you could paint the dog on the side of the dresser or on the closet door if it's a flat door and you don't want to paint on the wall.
Another thing you might consider is making a cutout the same shape from posterboard or thin plywood and painting the design on it and attaching it to the wall which would be less permanent. And again, to make it blend in with the vintage fireman kid room theme, use the antiquing medium to tone down the colors, or if you can find the darker tones to start with, you won't have to do that step at all, to get the vintage fireman kid room theme look.
Review the Kid Storage page, and just keep in mind that the wire organization units for the closet are notorious for having hangers and other items tending to get caught on the wires, no matter how careful you are. So my recommendation is to get the stacking type cubes and/or the hanging fabric organizers.