Easy Kitchen Update

I am so excited to get started on our new kitchen (c'mon good weather!!!), but sadly that will be the one room we do not DIY. We decided to have custom cabinetry and countertops done since we are really looking at it as an investment. We plan on living here for a veryyyy long time because we hate moving more than getting our teeth pulled, so we agreed that it was best to leave this room to the professionals.
But we still have some great DIY kitchen ideas, thanks to our beloved first home! The kitchen was about as basic as "builder basic" gets: laminate counters, oak panel cabinets, cheap appliances... and since we were poor, first time home owners there was no justifying a new kitchen.
For about $400 we took the old kitchen from "yeow!" to "WOW"
The befores (click any image to enlarge):
We did several things to spice it up:
-paint the cabinets
-change the hardware
-add crown molding
-subway tile backsplash
-hide the ugly hood vent over the stove
We did the transformation over a 1 month period, working on something every weekend, and before we knew it we were cooking in a kitchen that we loved. The key to a successful kitchen update is to go for a custom look. The molding is the cheapest and fastest way to acheive that, and if you are up for a bit more of a challenge, the hood vent is a very cheap way to look like you are cooking in a kitchen out of a magazine! Good luck with any updates you have planned and please share any of your transformations!!!