It seems absolutely yonks ago that I did a mini-makeover on my wee galley kitchen (as much as you can justify a makeover in a rental) but I never got around to sharing the results...
I stripped the walls and cupboards and repainted them. Some dummy had painted latex over enamel on the walls and cupboards, so this took a lot of elbow grease, prep and priming. It's kind of like peeling sunburnt skin (see picture); addictive and frustrating at once. The cupboard hinges also had a gazillion coats of painted on there, so I painstakingly stripped them of paint, using an eco-friendly paint stripper, which still stank to high heaven. Then I shined them up with Q-Tips and Cape Cod Polish.
I replaced two drawer fronts and left some doors off other cupboards, leaving open for display or baskets. (After vacillating between baskets or a curtain like this for months, I got the baskets at Pottery Barn). The biggest impact was probably that I tiled the backsplash using these. They worked out great and I love the look.
Finally, I bought a new epic dish rack from Simplehuman, a plant pot for growing basil on my windowsill from Perch! Design, tea-towels from SkinnylaMinx and voila. The countertop is still an eyesore (any rental-appropriate ideas?), but overall, I think the slog paid off.