With the $300 we received from escrow on our painting, we decided to buy at least one item for the mini-renovation we're going to do on the kitchen this summer. This beautiful track light from Lowe's. (although ours is oil-rubbed bronze with champagne glass shades):
Believe me, we really agonized over this lighting thing but I think it will serve our needs best and is very affordable. Discovering the wiring nightmare under the drop ceiling also necessitated something easy and simple.
I'm thinking we can do this thing for about $1500. With new IKEA birch countertops ($170), a new cork floor from Lumber Liquidators ($800), painted cabinets ($60), new hardware ($50), a microwave cabinet and bookshelves from IKEA ($180), a new coat of paint ($30), a mini tile backsplash ($100), and another new pendant light ($30). We're thinking we might start doing a bit of the work, including taking down the ceiling and rearranging the wiring, as well as starting to paint the cabinets. We'll figure out drywall for the ceiling later (when our awesome friend Paul can help).