"I refreshed my oak cabinets with new quartz counters, backsplash, "short apron" Whitehaven apron front sink and under cabinet lighting. One of my favorite changes is the under cabinet lighting - so helpful and makes the kitchen look prettier. This may be beyond your budget, but if this was my space I would look into putting a range with nice vent hood about where the microwave is. Venting is better with a perimeter range vent. I might remove the upper cabinets to the left of the sink - perhaps put some decorative shelves. Because I am short, I reworked my microwave cabinet into a plate rail cabinet and moved my microwave down - and plan to replace it with a smaller one when it dies. My kitchen: https://www.houzz.com/photos/my-pics-work-in-progress-phvw-vp~110720042 https://www.houzz.com/photos/my-pics-work-in-progress-phvw-vp~109854029 This is my wood kitchens idea book with both newer and older, refreshed kitchens: https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/75202366/list/wood-kitchens There is a product called "grout paint" which you can paint the grout in the floor. It is a bit tedious but it really helps. I did my powder room floor and so far it has held up well."
"Does DH not like the subway shape or the white color? There are crackle tiles and fireclay tile that have slight interesting texture and color variations but don't have an obvious pattern. Can we see a photo of the rest of your kitchen? You need a tile that works with the counters and the space."
"Here is a before"
Before gel stain
Stain gel rather than painting cabinets