If it doesn't come with it, make it - I am a person who needs shelves. I tend to buy in bulk and need a place to put all this stuff. I am also very similar to most people in that I would like as much counter space as possible. Appliances like blenders, toasters and choppers are huge time savers but they take up a lot of counter space. My kitchen had two small counters. This was not going to cut it for me. So what did we do? Well, the apartment came with two four foot tall bookshelves. We had all ready decided to replace them with larger shelves so that we could fit all our books. We moved those shelves into the kitchen, covered the back with a decorative fabric (you might like to try cork-board for a functional bulletin board) and voila! I had an extra counter top AND extra shelves to keep things on. In my case it worked because the shelves were able to face in towards my small cooking area while the back faced out into the room.
Get the most out of one appliance - When selecting items for my registry I kept space in mind. Items like the Cuisinart Power Blend Duet or the Cuisinart Smart Stick are great because you get two appliances for the space of one. I leave the most frequently used attachment on the counter and the other ones are within easy reach on my shelves.
Use every inch - A Corner Shelf is a great way to get the most use out of this neglected spot. I installed several and use them to hold my spices.
Be Decorative - If there is a gap between your cabinets and the ceiling consider lacing some nice pots with foliage or other pretty item up there. Jut remember: in moderation it can really brighten the room. In excess it makes one feel cluttered and hectic.
You don't have to be a carpenter to build a pantry - If you've got a spare coat closet near the kitchen that isn't being used you might consider converting it into a pantry. There are many great shevling untis easily found at home depot that are a cynch to install. If you hesitant to do anything involving tools, or your building forbids you to put nails in the walls you can still use snap together shelf cubes.
Is it frustrating when your kitchen does not match your cooking ambition? Absolutely. But these tips can help. Remember, there's always a way to make it work.