Wendy, you may be setting yourself up for big problems, depending on your furniture. Much modern furniture is made with what they call "mixed hardwoods" and it can be any kind of wood under a heavy layer of finish. If you knew for certain what kind of wood was actually under the finish, could see the grain markings and identify it from there, you could strip and refinish it. The next problem is that bleaching wood can be tough and this is probably not the kind of project that would be good for a novice to start on.
Painting is possible and you can do this but I wonder if you will be happy with it a few years down the road. This is even more true if it turns out to have the situations described above and, since it will not be capable of being refinished, you will be stuck with painting it forever. Also, to get a really good finish with paint on this many pieces that are relatively big, spray painting with an air compressor and spray gun will be your best choice. Painting with a brush will probably be a big mess with runs and drips. Painting with spray cans will be difficult and expensive.
Based on this, please give us some direction or additional information so that we can adequately answer your questions.