There are many websites, magazines and cable TV shows that teach people to decorate using vintage furniture pieces. Many of these resources teach how to paint furniture, change hardware and even create a totally different furniture piece from the original intended use of furniture. An example would be TV armoires; these TV cabinets are no longer used because of Plasma TV's that could be hung on walls.
These TV cabinets are being up cycled for other uses; some have been converted into craft centers, home office center, linen cabinets, even into wardrobe/ guest room closet. This is a creative way to reuse good quality furniture that no longer is used as a TV armoire.
Although, these articles and shows make furniture painting look easy; there are disasters that occur when furniture piece is not prepped properly for painting.
Many furniture pieces have a sealer or shiny finish on the furniture piece. Most furniture pieces need to be sanded until the shiny finish is off; some furniture pieces need to be primed before being painted. An example; furniture with a lacquer finish need to be primed and should be painted with a similar lacquer finish paint. Chalk paint is used as a preferred medium for furniture because there is no priming needed and can be sealed with soft wax. I found amazing video painting on furniture with chalk paint.
After the furniture piece is painted; allow for two days to dry; then use a sealer to protect paint finish. If painting furniture pieces for outdoor use; make sure the proper outdoor paint is used for the elements outside.
Sometimes the best way to learn is trial by error; learning what works and what doesn't is the best method to learn and fix vintage furniture.
Amazing video on using chalk paint for furniture