Transform with paint and simple updates...
Here's a great example of what paint can do for a kitchen! I do this kind of transformation all the time, but this fine example comes from "Stage a Star" in Cincinatti, OH.
A dark dreary and dated kitchen is completely redone thanks to some clean white paint on the cabinets and a soft green on the walls. No more dark wood cabinets and gingham wallpaper! In this case, they also replaced the stove and microwave. However, for a tighter budget one could keep the stove because the black and white would go with the new white on the cabinets, and just replace the microwave with a white one. Also, high-quality press-and-stick veneers in white and stainless steel are available over the internet for updating your dishwasher inexpensively.
The only mis-step here, for me, is the plants and baskets on top of the upper cabinets. It's a bit 1990's, too "country style", and probably wouldn't work well here in California. I prefer to keep that space free and clear as it makes the whole room look less cluttered, larger and more contemporary. Otherwise, great job!