I was given two of the same style dressers- one wide and one tall. They were the childhood dressers of a friend of my mother's. At the time I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but I loved them at first sight. Their style was very indicative of the era- deep routed vertical grooves, wrought iron hardware, and a honey walnut stain with heavy gloss.
The biggest problem was that I ultimately wanted to use the dressers in two different rooms- the wide dresser in my room and the tall dresser in my daughter Ava's room. I was faced with trying to make them look completely different but still keep the originality of the design.
For Ava's dresser, I painted the whole thing an antique white and then color-washed the beveled edges and made vertical stripes on the middle two drawers with a light pink.
I added crystal knobs that gave it a little glitz- what five year old has enough sparkle in her life?
For the wide dresser, I wanted to fill in the grooves, so they would look very subtle and not as deep. I painted the dresser a flat charcoal grey with a vintage silver overlay. I wanted the paint to look worn and distressed.
I bought some vintage glass knobs from anthropologie. Sometimes hardware will be the biggest statement you can make when refinishing an antique.
It's important to remember that your "old things" have another life waiting for them. You can bring them to life again and make them feel at home in your home.
And they can be stunning at the same time : )