Have you ever used oil based paint before? I only had experiences working with latex paint. Latex paint washes off with water and generally doesn't have a bad odor. The oil based paint that I was just using is about the exact opposite of latex based paint. If it gets on your skin there is no washing it off with water and the smell, oh my, the smell!!
The reason for using an oil based paint was to paint a pair of chests for our bedroom. I know it will hold up and brace yourself, you can buy a small can of Rustoleum at Home Depot for about $9.50. They have some great basic colors.
Here is the finished product:
My Tips for Using an Oil Based Paint on Furniture:
1. Even when the surface is smooth, use a soft roller brush, not one of those tight super smooth ones
2. Wear gloves and if you get it on yourself use olive oil with sea salt to scrub it off. Follow up with dish soap to remove the oil.
3. Let it dry for a few days if you can. The smell is incredibly strong so let the furniture piece dry for a few days before you bring it inside the house.
4. Be prepared for your brushes to get totally ruined, unless you dip them in the paint remover before you begin painting. Remember this paint doesn't just wash off.