Here are a few step by step instructions on how to paint a piece of furniture:
1. Prepare work area - Place the furniture on a drop cloth in a ventilated area.
2. Prepare Furniture Piece - Remove hardware (drawer pulls, etc)
3. Sand - with fine-grit sandpaper to scuff the surface and prepare it to be painted. Wear gloves, safety goggles and a dust mask.
4. Clean off dust - Remove any residual sawdust with a damp rag (don't wet the wood) or tack cloth. You can also use a hand vacuum or brush.
5. Prime - Apply a coat of water-based primer. For smaller pieces, you may be able to use spray primer. The primer usually dries within 1 to 2 hours. Read the directions on the container. If the primer coat looks spotty or thin, apply a second coat and allow it to dry.
6. Base Coat - Add a coat of water-based paint. Brush or roll it on with even strokes, going in the direction of the wood grain. With spray paint, make slow passes with the can 8 to 12 inches from the wood surface. Allow the first coat to dry. Add a second coat and allow it to dry overnight.
7. The Fun Part - You can now start your decorative painting and/or faux finishing.
8. Last Step - Seal the piece with a water based varnish or polyurethane.