See steps and cost breakdown by clicking "Read More"
Supplies and costs:
-drawer liner (my boyfriend works at an architecture/design firm and gets samples for free)
-electric sander, paintbrushes, tools to remove hardware, spray-mount glue for drawer lining
1) Remove ugly hardware!
Our thrift store find had some terrible hardware (not pictured) so that was the first thing to go.
2) Sand away varnish.
Electric sanders are key here. If you're painting it, you don't have to sand the varnish all the way off (you only need to do that if you're planning to stain it). If your dresser has little detail crevices like ours did, you'll have to do a good bit of hand-sanding to get into the parts that the electric sander can't reach. The sanding took us about 3 or 4 hours (but we're perfectionists).
3) Prime and paint entire surface.
Don't be stingy with the primer: the better the coat of primer, the better your final product will look and the more durable it will be. Two coats. For the paint we decided to go with two different colors: Collonade Gray for the body and Crisp Linen (an off-white) for the drawers. We also chose to use a high-gloss for the gray and an eggshell for the white to add some contrast. The entire painting process took us a total of about 8-9 hours spread over a few days for dry down time.
Note: if you use high-gloss paint it will be oil-based and will come with it's own set of problems: our paint roller left little fuzzies in the paint so we had to sand off the layer and repaint it with a regular brush. Also, you're going to have strong fumes and will need to let it air out for a day or so.
4) Install rad hardware
We replaced our hardware with some yellow and navy knobs that we found at World Market for the top 3 drawers. The four bottom drawers had handles so there were two holes drilled in each of those drawers but we thought it would be cool to just put two separate knobs instead.
5) Drawer lining (optional but awesome)
My boyfriend is an architect/designer so he brought home a roll of gold patterned wall coverings. I love this because a) I love gold and b) it adds such interesting detail without being overwhelming since it's inside! We used spray-mount glue to stick it to the bottom of the drawer and FINALLY had a place for our clothes.