I have a craft table. We got it at Ikea several years ago. I needed a place to sew besides the dining table.
We used 1 coat of Kilz latex primer and 2 coats of white latex paint on the shelves and the table legs.
(Sorry for the blurry picture, but you get the idea.)
When I started on the table, I taped off the top, because I was going to stain it later. I painted the legs and bottom box brace section white.
After I let the legs dry, I removed the tape. David sanded the top of the table for me because it had some paint spills and scratches on it. We cleaned it off and then I applied two coats of water based stain with a foam brush and then wiped the excess off with a clean cloth. I didn't use tape for this step because I have a pretty steady painting hand, but you could tape over the painted area if you were worried about mistakes.
When the stain dried on the top, I applied a coat of polyurethane to make the finish durable. Wanna see it now?
Ooo La La! Isn't beautiful. The two tones give the table a little more interest than if we had painted the whole thing white. Since it's such a simple piece of furniture, it really needed a boost!
Here, you can see the finish on the top of the table. Any piece of furniture that is solid wood can be stained like this. Many of Ikea's pieces are made of solid wood and can be finished any way you choose. When I can get such inexpensive furniture I don't mind doing a little extra work.
I love the new table. The white shelves look great, too. I have big plans for them in the future.
I may add some casters to the bottom of my craft table so that I can move it out of the way when we have guests stay in that room. I love furniture on wheels!