Painted furniture requires a proper sealant to protect it against the elements. Your armrests, table legs, desk drawers and dresser drawers deserve a good topcoat of quality finish to keep their rich colours looking bright and lasting long. A premium finisher, one that protects against weathering and scratching, will save time and money on repairs in the future.
Apply a quality enamel, or water-based polyurethane sealer after you have allowed the paint to dry. The polyurethane sealer will protect your furniture from wind and rain if it is an outdoor item, and paint-chipping and surface scratches from household cleaning, pets and children. A water-based sealer will provide you with a clear coat that will allow the true colour to shine through without a dingy yellow appearance most varnishes have, once the sealer has dried. Water-based sealers are especially perfect for acrylic or water-based paints and primers; ones that you have most likely already used on your furniture.
If you have used an oil-based paint, use an enamel to protect your furniture. The enamel is a clear coat of finish that will adhere better to the oil properties of the paint, vs. the water-based options mentioned above.
When applying your sealer, use a synthetic brush to prevent visible strokes and the possible stray piece of bristle left behind on the furniture. Small items kept indoors, such as side tables or desk chairs, can be protected in one coat. Larger items, like kitchen tables, and anything kept outdoors, should always have at least two coats of protection. After the first coat, sanding may also be of use. Sand often when working with a piece that is rough or aged, and may require a deeper application and a thorough seal.