We got this really cute dresser from a seller on Craigslist for just $100 last March along with a matching tall dresser and two nightstands. We refinished the matching tall dresser last summer in a lovely dark stain with gold accents. We originally planned to do the same with the low dresser but the veneer had a lot of damage so we chose to paint it instead.
We removed the glossy varnish from the curved drawer dividers, legs, and scallop-detailed drawers using Citristrip and sanded them with sanding sponge. We sanded the finish off the rest of the dresser using 80-grit and 120-grit sandpaper with our mouse sanders.
After the whole dresser was sanded, we vacuumed it thoroughly and wiped it down with moist cloths to remove the sawdust.
We wanted the dresser to have a glossy finish, but we didn't want to use high-gloss latex paint because it tends to be sticky even after curing. We decided to use flat paint instead and then coat it with a high gloss polyurethane for a shiny and durable finish. We gave the dresser four coats of Glidden White on White using a foam roller for the sides, top, and drawers and used a brush for the detail work. We let each coat of paint dry overnight and sanded lightly between coats with 120-grit sandpaper on a sanding block to remove the roller texture. The sanding is only a little extra work, and the results are definitely worth it.
General Finishes High Performance Water Based Topcoat in Gloss to seal the dresser. This polyurethane had a lot of great reviews and is now our favorite topcoat. It doesn't bubble or foam, goes on smoothly without brush marks, dries very fast, and is easy to clean up since it's water based. A big concern when looking for a sealer was something that wouldn't yellow (since we were using it over white paint), like so many sealers tend to do. The General Finishes contains UV filters that promised better results than other water- and oil-based polys, and so far we're pleased! We applied four coats with foam brushes, allowing each coat to dry for several hours and sanded after the first coat with 600-grit sandpaper. We ended up with a very shiny and hard topcoat that looks amazing. Finally, we cleaned up the old drawer knobs and painted them with a couple coats of gold liquid leaf to make them look new.
After painting several pieces of furniture in the past with semi-gloss or high-gloss latex paint only to have terrible results, I am so much happier with how we painted this dresser. The General Finishes topcoat over flat paint gave a much shinier and more durable finish than a high-gloss latex paint. We ended up with a fresh, clean looking dresser that looks lovely in its new home.