I didn't spend a lot on nursery furniture because I knew when my kids got older, I'd break the bank on their big kid furniture.
With that being said though, I still spent a good amount on all the "extras" that go into a nursery, such as bedding, window treatments, wall art and that sort of thing.
For my son's nursery, we spent money on a huge chair that folds out into a twin bed and also a cedar chest. Both pieces I know I'll have in his room for a lot of years, but we went cheap on the crib and a changing table and stained an existing dresser to match his crib. When he turned 3, we broke the bank ordering his big boy set.
For my daughter's room, we went cheap on the crib, but I spent money on bedding, a chandelier and just all the little "details" that complete the room. We also used existing IKEA furniture and painted it to match her room. This is her room