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as far as your cabinets go...to change the color with a "stain" going darker will work IF you remove all traces of the protective top finish (poly or lacquer) the stain will need to "contact" the wood not the previous finish....with that in mind the painting may be less work.
To do anything, first you have to remove all the polish, grease, etc.
Go to the local Sher-Wms and pick up some of their waterbased deglosser. It works great and
You then can go over the cabinets with a glaze to change the stain color to give them a richer look and freshen them up. At that point you are ready for 2 clear top coats.
Here is a post of a job we just finished. You can pick any glaze color that there is for paint.