Flat paint sometimes can work just as well as a primer on old wood furniture. In fact it is better to get a primer in the exact same color as the top coat. For my painted furniture I tend to work with oil paint which is more durable I have found in the long run. For old wood furniture that gets lots of wear and tear consider buying the paint color of your choice in both a flat and a satin. Using the flat paint as your primer will allow you to get much of the pigment color on the furniture in two coats or less. Using the flat paint as your first coat and then using a satin or semi gloss coat for the top coats will protect your furniture. If the piece of furniture gets scratched, it may only go down to the flat surface, which is a bit more resilient than gloss. There is nothing worse than seeing a white primer under a painted surface. Use this simple trick when considering painting old wood furniture.
(Picture Credit to the Left Charles Faudree Interiors)