Just wanted to add my experience with painted countertops to the list. After much thought I decided to paint despite all the negative comments out there. My countertop looks fantastic! I followed the directions to wash the countertop with TSP to get rid of grime and grease. I then applied the BIN (white shellac) to the countertop which acted as the primer. BIN adheres beautifully to smooth surfaces and provides a good primed base to accept the paint. I used Martha Stewart Latex Paint (2 coats) and then proceeded to apply 5 coats of water-based Varathane. I had heard that oil-based will yellow. We let the countertop cure for many days before we started to re-apply items onto the countertop. As a precautionary measure, I have put 2 glass cutting boards to sit permanently on the countertop. Also, I applied little self adhesive felt pads on the feet on any appliance to sit on the counter.
It was well worth the effort and even if I get a few years use out of it before I replace the top, it is well worth it! Don't be afraid to try...What have you got to lose??