This woman tells how she painted and sealed her counters to go from the laminate in the top to the natural stone look in the bottom picture. About 120 bucks. I'm not a big fan of painting laminate but this tutorial intrigues me.
Use Thomas' Liquid Stainless Steel on appliances, faucets, countertops. The water-based resin is stainless steel in liquid form. It gives a brushed-stainless look. Durable as auto-grade finish. 8 Items you can Paint : DIY Network
Whether your countertop is formica or laminate, here are a few different approaches on painting them. Old countertops can be ugly and dated, but now there are moderately easy ways to update them in one weekend.
maybe we could get "new countertops" earlier than I thought DIY painted counter tops. Directions for painting various surfaces such as formica, laminate, etc. So much cheaper and more eco-friendly than tearing out the old and replacing.