When I saw this piece, I knew it had great potential!
It's solid oak, and the finish was a little tired. I wanted to keep the great wood tone, with just a little updating... here it is now.
This is white latex paint, mixed with water (about 2/3 paint, 1/3 water). I brushed it on, and wiped it off. Easy peasy as my kids would say. I started wiping with a t-shirt rag, and once the shirt was gone tried paper towels. I liked the paper towel effect a little better - perhaps the "rougher" texture of the paper towel gave a slightly different effect.
The spots that had details, or needed a little something, I went back and dry brushed it with the same paint/water combo. I think the brass hardware breaks it up nicely.