There's no better way to update an old piece of furniture than by painting it.
Painting furniture is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to update an old piece. If you want to do it yourself it costs only the price of the paint. If you want to have it done professionally here's what you might expect to pay.
As usual, it depends on the size of the piece and how much work is required. An average side table or nightstand should cost a little over $100. A large piece like a dining room table can be closer to the $500 range. It really depends on the size and condition. A piece that requires a lot of sanding and prep work will be more. Bookcases and armoires will likely be a little more (closer to $600).
If you can't afford a kitchen reno but you want to give it an update consider painting the cabinets. If the job seems overwhelming as a DIY you can send the doors to a sprayer to be painted. It will always depend on how much detail they have and how much prep work is required but you can expect to pay about $40 a door. It's not cheap but you'll get a smooth and professional-looking finish. Remember that the paint will cost extra. Also remember to get some extra so that you can paint the cabinet frames.