Is it stained or painted? You could restain it. I'm not a fan of paneling, and I would replace it, but that's just me.
There used to be a product called liquid gold for wood that would give your walls a fresh look if the finish it's too worn. There's also a product made for wood furniture that could restore them if they aren't in such good shape. It's called Restore-A-Finish. You can find it at HoDe.
I'm not sure what type of paneling you have, but if it's knotty pine, the classic finish for it is amber shellac. And that's according to Pam Kuebler of the very popular web site Retro Renovation, who's on a mission to save knotty pine:
Good point Douglas. I didn't think to ask what kind of paneling. That's why pictures are so important.
Most likely your paneling is that awful stuff put in every home in Atlanta about that time...mine too. We did not want to go to the expenses nor put up with a lot of sanding to install sheetrock, so we opted to float out the grooves in ours and prime and paint it! That was 13 years ago and it still looks great! The thing about taking out pannelng is that there can be a difference in the thickness of it and sheetrock which will affect the moldings in your room....and that can get very expensive...not only in materials, but installation! When we were told that, we opted for the float out, limited sanding, prime and paint! I am sure many will disagree with me, but with our homes here about 25-30% decreased in value, there comes a time when you just have to stop major redos!
If you want to get rid of the paneling look you could try what we did years ago in a home that paneling in every room. We put masking tape on the ruts and wallpapered over it. It was still up 5 years later. Others have filled in the gaps in the paneling and then painted, just a little more work.It really does depend on the end look you are looking for, if you want to keep the paneling then google how to freshen them - such as this site http://www.ehow.com/info_12112063_dated-paneling-walls.html
We decided to just paint the old dark paneling in our home. We didn't take out the lines so there is still a look that makes it different than plain drywall would be. Everyone who comes in notices and loves it. We get so many compliments.....would never go back to the old dark stuff.