1. Sand it down thoroughly using fine sandpaper. If it's unpainted, check to see if it has any knots. If it does, apply a coat of knotting solution over them and allow that to dry. Try Knotting Solution, £3.42 for 250ml, from Wickes.
2. Clean and prime the surface to create the right conditions for painting. Use a little white spirit and a lint-free cloth to clean the surface and remove any dust. Give the bedside table a coat of primer - this will make it much easier to paint - and leave to dry.
3. Paint it with water-based acrylic paint as this dries quicker and has less odour than solvent-based paints. Apply two coats, letting the first dry before applying the second. Use a large brush for the main surfaces and a smaller one for fiddly areas.
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