A while back I did a blog post about our ugly kitchen (you can check it out here) - the previous homeowners had re-done the kitchen with things they liked, not worrying about whether or not they went together (they didn't). We did a quick makeover to keep me from crying every time I walked into the room - a temporary fix until we were ready for a bit more work.
Here are the original before shots - busy backsplash with dark grout lines, orange wood, ugly brass handles...
And the in-between fix - painted the busy backsplash to get rid of the headaches, added a valance (made with $4 placemats!).
I still didn't want to spend a lot of money, and the cabinets and counters were in good shape. We painted out the wood trim, changed the cabinet hardware (29 handles...), painted the walls and backsplash, and added some new accessories. The entire thing was done for less than $200.
Now I actually don't mind spending time in the kitchen - it feels much cleaner and more open!