(Source: Pinterest.com: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/24769866672607691/ )
Maybe you are a renter "stuck" with paneling, or you bought a house that has it and you don't want to go through the hassle of ripping it down and repairing the dry wall (or whatever else might be hiding underneath!).
Updating wood paneling with paint gives it a more updated look, and also brings more light into the room. Wood paneling can make a room feel like a cave. There are other options, like "gluing" fabric with a paste that you can make yourself and then just wash off of the paneling when you decide to take the cloth down.
If you don't want to paint or "paper" your paneling, simply bringing lighter or warmer colors into the color scheme works wonders. One client rented an apartment that was mostly wood paneling. So we ordered new furniture (a warm, red sectional) along with a large, white, modern lamp (she was very into contemporary style) as well as white roman shades for her windows. These two colors--the deep red and bright white added a homey feel to her dark walls while also brightening the apartment.