Ideas for Making Corner Fireplace the Focal Point?

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Q: My husband and I will be moving into our new 875 square foot apartment in a few weeks. It's great, but I want to use the space to the max. I am not sure how to arrange the seating (we don't have any furniture now) in the combined living/dining room area, since there is a built in corner fireplace in the living room. 

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I would like to make that the focal point, but I want to keep the space open and not separate the living areas too much. The fireplace is where the rectangle box is outside the apartment in the picture:

Also, I am having trouble figuring out where to place the television. The kitchen has a window that looks into the living space, and I would like to maximize visibility of the television in the apartment. It's very thin, but we are especially afraid of mounting it over the fireplace because it's a heat source.

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.

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