The layout of our house now is inefficient for our purposes: you walk into the foyer; stairs are to the right / kitchen is straight ahead / formal living room is on the left. If you go through the formal living room, that connects to a formal dining room. The kitchen is to the right of the formal dining room (which is an eat-in kitchen) and that steps down into the family room.
Here's a little secret about us: we aren't exactly fancy. Our "fancy" dinner on our honeymoon was Ruby Tuesday and we aren't embarrassed to admit it. We've tried the fancy restaurant scene before and walked away scratching our heads like what are we missing here? - because in our book it was awful. As such, a formal living and dining room just aren't our cup of tea.
One day we hope to completely redo the layout of our first floor: the formal living room would become a dining room with a huge farm table for hosting gatherings. The formal dining room will become our kitchen for a multitude of reasons (one of which being ease of connecting a gas range and another due to the layout and ability to gain a LOT more cabinet space than our current kitchen). Our kitchen would disappear and we would make this an extension of the family room - we are thinking of it being a little home library on the kitchen side and the eat in kitchen area would become a little sitting area. Given our penchant for DIY, we could comfortably do this for relatively inexpensive compared to hiring a professional contractor, but all of it would still likely be somewhere on the order of $25-$50k (so no small sum at all) when you factor in materials (flooring, cabinets, counters, appliances, bookshelves, etc.) and some outsourcing of electrical, plumbing and HVAC work.
In any case, Jon and I very briefly entertained the idea of trying to redo just the new kitchen aspect sometime within the next two years and after some research we quickly decided that taking on more debt was not worth it and we would just have to pinch our pennies until we could actually afford to pay for it in cash. So not for probably 5-10 years. Doesn't mean I can't dream though. :)
For inspiration, here are a few kitchens that I love:
In terms of color/cabinet styles, I'd say this is my favorite at the moment:
Ultimately, my favorite color of cabinetry has always been a dark espresso-y brown. However, the space we want to use is very small and I'm pretty sure dark cabinets would make it feel cave-like. I also like the timelessness of white cabinets, but they show dirt so easily so I would ultimately lean towards gray cabinets (assuming I could get Jon on board).