Thanks for posting!! Your idea sounds really refreshing and cute and fortunately, repainting furniture is very doable!! In an episode of UpCycl’d, I sand off the black finish of a sideboard and repaint it to give it a brand new white look. I think the video and corresponding DIY steps will really help you! Check it out here!
As far as the sticks you’re referencing, are they what are pictured above? Those seem to be part of the design of the furniture so I’m not sure there is much you can do! Once you repaint the piece, you may feel differently about them!! That negative space could also be a cute place to string some twinkle lights, if those are your thing!