I recently moved and wanted furniture that fit my tastes. My goals were also quick and cheap ?
I went to a local paint store and got the small (sample) size tin of ebony stain, Matt top coat, and krylon blue spray paint (it comes the closes to TARDIS blue). Also, 150 sand paper, a couple cheap 2' paint brushes and painters tape. (About $50)
I picked up some furniture at the thrift store.
Step 1: Choose Your Weapon...I Mean Furniture
I went to my local thrift shop and picked up a side table and two dressers.
I ended up with one that was unfinished wood, and two which had many layers of oil based paint.
I sanded the unfinished one and the side table, though I didn't sand off all the old paint - just ensured the surface was even. The second previously painted dresser I washed but didn't sand. I was curious what the stain would look like over oil paint finish.
Remove the drawers and handles.
Make sure you wash the furniture again after sanding and let it dry for a few minutes. Then tape on any designs you want to show through.
Step 3: Paint and Seal
I wasn't concerned with clean lines so j tore my tape to get the weird edges. If you cut it cleanly and press it firmly you should get clean edges.
I also used the spray paint on the handles, it may not hold well on unprimed metal but I was ok with the risk as I want to replace the handles anyway.
You can use a Matt top coat over the spray pain but it lightens the floor a bit and fills the finish. Test a patch and see if you like it if your mixing the spray paint and stain/matt lacquer.
You will need to let the stain dry for about a hour and a half minimum before sealing it. AND! Make sure you remove your tape before sealing with clear coat.
If you are efficient and have a dry area (I had to avoid rain) then this can be done in a day ☺️
TADA!!! Custom furniture - affordably and quickly