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The phrase is so overused that I hate to speak it but the fireplace really is the focal point of the room. The Craftsman era (aka Arts & Crafts), spanning roughly 1910 to 1925, incorporated a design scheme of dedicating an entire wall to the fireplace, flanked by bookcases and most often a window on either side. Below is a rendering from a 1920's home plan, and at left you see this design is still popular.
Modern design also trends toward locating the television above the fireplace and arranging the furniture to focus on this one wall where the "business" end of the room keeps everything in one location. This style works well with open concept plans where there are fewer walls. The dark brick Craftsman fireplace ......