Use task lighting; instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it. For example, use fluorescent under-cabinet lighting for kitchen sinks and countertops under cabinets.
Laminate countertops can be repaired and resurfaced at a fraction of the cost of replacement. The cracks and burns are repaired with a special plastic filler, then sanded smooth to fill in any rough or damaged areas. The counter is then sprayed with a special topcoat, which gives the appearance and durability of a new laminate countertop. The process usually takes four to five hours, and your kitchen will be ready to use the next day.
When laminating, use 1" vinyl blind slats between your surfaces to align the edges.