Reader Design Dilemma-Penny's Kitchen

Reader Penelope wants to give her "kit" kitchen a cosmetic make-over. So let's roll up our sleeves and see what we've got to work with!

Here's her kitchen, ready for some sprucing up.
"The cupboards are a pale pinky beige that I intend to paint white and install new handles (chrome), as well as install a new shelf (white) somewhere above the cupboards.
My laminate benchtop is a swirly, "natural rock inspired" pink/violet/blue monstrosity, but we're stuck with it, and I'd like to make the best of it.
Here's the room on the other side of the kitchen which we don't actually use as a dining area."
And for the most important part- what colors does Penny like?
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"My eye tends to be drawn to soft colours, like icey pink and blue, even soft lavendar. I just don't know what will go best with the benchtops we have, although it does incorporate a mixture of these tones."

I think Penny is on the right track with her inspirational photos showing soft pastels with a retro feel. The counter-tops are unfortunate, for sure, but not a lost cause. With the focus drawn away from the counters, and onto the walls, they won't stand out quite so distinctly.

So, the first question I would ask would be about lighting. Is the kitchen dark during the day, or does it get lots of bright natural lighting?
In this mock-up, I pulled a pastel blue from one of Penny's inspiration photos for the walls, and a light pink for the ceiling.

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A nice solution to give the illusion of sunlight is using buttery yellow, like this photo Penny submitted. Love the copper pots against the yellow and white-lovely!
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In taking a closer look at the second kitchen picture, I see other areas where color can be incorporated. Notice I pulled the yellow up onto the ceiling to de-emphasize it's low height. The curtain leading into a back room (pantry?) could be replaced by colorful upholstery fabric quite easily. Our designer-readers might have some good suggestions for what might work there.

To draw attention away from the mauve tones in the counter-top, you could try pulling out one of the other colors you like better, like light blue or lilac (as long as it isn't too gray which can quickly translate to dingy )

Also, by swapping out the back splash tiles (if this is an option) for something more updated in color, it would draw attention away from the mauve theme going on.
You might even be able to paint over it. (but -only- if it doesn't get wet frequently) A crisp bright white for the trim would also liven up the space. Perhaps a fun light fixture with some full-spectrum bulbs to brighten the kitchen? Play around with the colors of the items displayed on the shelves-you can incorporate the pastel palette more completely.

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Since the kitchen is so small, several more shelves stacked above would offer more storage space, and more design opportunities. Granted, this kitchen example has lilac cabinets instead of white, but feel how refreshing and alive this space feels! Besides, who says cabinets have to be white or wood?

So, that's my initial take on Penny's kitchen make-over. What would you suggest for her space? Please share your ideas!