This is the before. It could be worse, but let's face it -- not much. There was almost no varnish on the top, but actually that's exactly how I wanted it. Less sanding.
I sanded it down and primed it with Kilz.
After the primer dried, I sanded it again and applied two coats of Olympic paint in Lime Meringue (B68-1) satin finish. It's a really light jade green. I bought two sample cans, but it only took about half of one for the whole table. I very lightly sanded the table again before the second coat of paint.
After the paint had thoroughly dried (I gave it 24 hours, which I thought might not be enough, but it was fine) I took the sanding sponges to the edges and distressed them. I made sure to not make the distressed patches too uniform and I considered where the paint would naturally get rubbed off over time.
Then I used Valspar antiquing glaze and rubbed it all over with a damp scrap of old t-shirt to give it more of a weathered, almost whitewashed appearance. It does look grungier doesn't it? Tastefully so, though.
Lastly, I painted on a layer of paste wax. I let it dry for about half an hour, then took a microfiber dust rag and buffed it. Before the buffing I was a little apprehensive. The finish was very matte and not particularly smooth, but after I buffed it, it gave it a very smooth finish with just a bit of sheen.
Looks nice for a first attempt, doesn't it? It's sitting next to the couch now. It's perfect as an end table. Now I just need to redo the rest of the room around it!