Primer! Don't neglect the primer! First I would find some books on stenciling (just to help develop the look you want to achieve...just browse a bookstore). Then, go to a good paint store (I really like Benjamin Moore Paints...they cost a little more, but you get better coverage and it saves you a lot of time and effort) and talk to them about different options...oil/alkyd, latex, color choices, etc. They should know their beans...don't be afraid to ask! Good Luck!