I would suggest replacing the existing formica with new formica of a lighter color. You'll have to pull the wood trim around the cubbys, but assuming it's installed with plugged screws that should not be too difficult. Formica runs about $50/sheet. It's advantage is it's durability and ease of cleaning
...do it once and you won't have to repaint, or deal with cleaning
I replaced the port lights in my boat this past winter and in the process had to sacrifice the existing formica along the sides of the cabin
. The port lights were installed with 5200 and it was impossible to get them out without cracking the formica. The old formica came off very easily, either because it was poorly installed in the first place or because the cement had succumbed to flexing over 27 years. It popped off with minimal chiseling involved, I sanded the plywood
underneath smooth, created patterns for the new formica panels
out of strips of luan and a glue gun, cut the laminate with a laminate router, and installed with laminate cement. It looks perfect, in part because they still sell Formica in the same color ivory that they did 27 years ago.
If I were you I would NOT paint your finished woodwork. It will never look as good, and will actually require more maintenance
than the existing finish as it will show dirt and marks much more starkly, particularly if it's a light color. Find other ways to brighten up the interior