We did two different bedside tables with the same basic idea for both
1) First assemble the stands without the drawers
2) Using a foam roller, apply a layer of white paint to all outward facing surfaces
3) Next take the outside surface of the drawers and use a rasp, hammer or other device to create little divots in the wood. This gives it an aged, “reclaimed” look. On one of them, we made deep gouges in the wood which turned out very nicely.
4) Stain with your choice of color (this is American by Minwax)
5) Repeat with as many coats as you want to achieve the right depth of color
6) We used wipe-on polyurethane to seal the stain.
7) We then added little metal studs to each drawer (where the holes for the original handles would be) with wood glue. You can also fill this with wood putty, but we liked the look of these old-fashioned square nails
8) We then added some style in the form of cast iron hinges and brass corners to the outside edge. We chose custom drawer pulls, all from our local hardware store. Be sure to test out your “flair” before using it–the drawers don’t close perfectly because of the hinges, but we felt it wasn’t noticeable.