i love it when people share experiences or things they have learned in the industry. that being said, courtney at in(side) the loop left a very informative comment on my painted chairs dilemma: I JUST had a refinisher come out and look at 3 antiques I recently inherited from my Dad's side. When I mentioned "painting" them, he almost fell over. HOWEVER, he also thought they would look better "painted" but he educated me. Lacquering does not mean it has to have a high gloss...it's just a finish but it can be matte or shiny. That said, it costs a bit more to have your furniture professionally lacquered but if you ever wanted to strip it and refinish the wood, it comes off very easily. If you were to paint it, paint would always be in the wood and you'd never be able to get it back to the original condition.
this led me to think more about this process...i love the look of lacquered walls and furniture. it can be placed in a tradition or modern home and is virtually timeless in it's appearance. it is an extremely labor intensive process therefore, the professional painters can charge out the you-know-what to achieve this look. a quality lacquer paint job should allow you to see your reflection in the sheen of the paint! this can require up to 30 coats....but man, you cannot replace the beauty of this look. walls look magnificent in both candlelight and day light. i did research to see if there was a DIY way out there and came across this article...basically to sum it up- NO, consult a professional and your accountant when contemplating lacquer to grace your home.