As a professional interior designer, who has seen the process of many crafts hundreds, maybe thousands of times, I say leave it up to the professionals. I would never personally attempt to DIY anything and expect it to look professional , so I don't do it. Then again, I am into details. I have a certain (high) expectation of what I consider well done.
Painting your furniture is NEVER a good idea.
Unless you have it done professionally it will chip and look dirty , worn and distressed in no time.
So if you are going to paint furniture have is done professionally or KNOW what you are doing. Don’t ever just paint furniture because you saw it on a DIY show. BAD idea.
Here's an example of a silver leafed finished I had done for a client of mine. I sent it out to a professional refinisher and this is how it turned out.
If you see it in a magazine , it was more than likely done professionally and that is why it works.