Well West LA and Santa Monica have a great selection of stores that carry modern furnishings. Thrift stores might be harder to get a gift certificate too, but check out our round up of thrift and antique stores for an idea. We'll start the list off and then ask everyone else to chime in with their favorites:
Tortoise: The new Tortoise store on Abbot Kinney sells larger items than their general store, like furniture. Amazing wooden benches and sofas and shelving, all minimal (they're Japanese designers after all) and zen and totally beautiful.
Bahay Home: Carries modern furniture that they design and manufacture in the Philippines and ship to their Culver City Store. The owners couldn't be any nicer and are always willing to accommodate custom orders.
HD Buttercup: A Warehouse filled with diiferent vendors. An old bakery, you can get totally lost inside just swirling through all the possibilities. Styles range from super chich Italian modern to shabby chic americana. But we've never walked through without being totally in love with a sofa, a chair, or an entire room.
DWR in Santa Monica: Pricey, definitely not within reach for many, but covetable and wonderful furniture that you'll keep forever.
West Elm: A perennial favorite over here on AT, they sell modern furnishings at good prices but we're still talking particle board in a lot of instances.