Ashwell's Shabby Chic in college and loved the idea of salvaging something old and ugly and bringing it back to life with a coat of paint. As I got older, I grew out of Shabby Chic. Now in need of more storage space and not wanting to spend on buying another piece of furniture...here's my solution. I was trolling Goodwill and Salvation Army for a well made sturdy dresser that I can refinish on the cheap - my budget was $10-20. No luck there, no vertical dressers only horizontal ones. Then my neighbors moved out and left this out. We wiped down the entire dresser inside and out, slapped a water based primer (Valspar Multipurpose) on it and 3 coats of "green" (zero VOC) semi-gloss paint (Olympic). The work was done on the patio and dried in a day since Tues was exceptionally hot and we waited for each coat to dry before applying the next. Primer and paint cost $20 total. I still have 3/4 of the primer left and 1/2 of the paint for future projects. The knobs cost $8. So for less than $30 we have a sturdy well made dresser that looks fab. Ikea would have been the other option, except the drawers tends to bottom out and I wanted something a little more durable.
Initially I wanted to decoupage the top with a graphic print yellow fabric or paper, but I haven't found anything yet. I'll probably line the inside of the drawers with some fun kids wrapping paper Lisa left at my house from last Xmas.