My parents bought this dresser over 30 years ago, but that doesn't exactly make it an heirloom. It's very sturdy, but the wood isn't anything special, the drawers fronts needed patching, and the sides are veneer. The price tag sold me: free.
To update the dresser, the first thing I did was use a jigsaw to cut off the scallop-y business at the bottom. (I wish I had a picture of me, eight months pregnant, wielding that tool.)
I painted three thin coats of Benjamin Moore's "After the Rain" and added these ceramic knobs, bought on sale from Anthropologie over the winter. My total cost was about $40, which breaks down as $25 for knobs and $15 for paint.
This dresser, which my parents used as a changing table for my brother and me, is now sitting pretty in the nursery of my baby that I haven't met yet.
(Image credits: Kim R. McCormick)