Well, my mother claims that paint sanitizes the walls. While I never bothered to find out if that's true, I just assumed she was right, and I wasn't about to say no. I didn't like the sandy color on the kitchen walls to start with. More importantly, however, was the fact that the previous owner of the house had many animals and did not take care of them or clean up after them. We found dog and cat hair in every SINGLE possible nook and cranny you could imagine. And even after washing the walls with rags twice, after we got done painting the kitchen (and every other room in the house for that matter) we found that we'd painted over little animal hairs. They're permanent now.
I know not everyone can afford stainless steel, but having your kitchen in warm, inviting colors (like light neutrals) and having all appliances match really decreases a homeowner's stress, and leaves the house ready for a resale.