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FIGURES reveal that about 25% of the workforce work from home some of the time, and at least 2.5% work from home permanently.

The key to working from home is to keep work and home life separate. This, however, is much harder to do when your work is always within easy striking distance.

My advice would be to keep work in a separate room from the one in which you have meals or relax. It's no fun having to clear stacks of papers before you can have a meal, or be confronted by the ever-growing in-pile in the corner of your living room as you watch TV.

An ideal solution is to have a garden office, where all your work paraphernalia can be left. Just be sure that the room is secure, and have an alarm fitted if you are leaving expensive equipment in there.

Heating is another issue you need to sort out too, as you won't get much work done if you are freezing cold all winter.

The Home Office Company (www.thehomeofficecompany. specialises in bespoke buildings, made-to-order to fit the space you have available, so even the tiniest garden can accommodate one.

Another option is Green Retreats (www.greenretreats. who also have a wide range of buildings to choose from, and a broad pricing structure to match.

Their smallest option starts at pounds 4,995 excluding VAT.

If you have spent a lot of time and money creating yourself a smart studio to work in, then it's worth keeping it looking spruce.

The paper-free office is still a long way off, and papers soon accumulate and create chaos. Furthermore, the one document you need urgently, is always the one that's vanished.

Fantastic box files from Harris & Jones (www.harrisandjones.

com), designed by Neisha Crosland, will almost make filing documents a pleasure!

Although I am a great advocate of aesthetics in the home, I also went things to be as practical as possible. Nobody wants to spend their time feeling anxious about floors that are impossible to keep clean, or worrying in case your guests will spill red wine on your pale sofa.

Mandarin Stone ( has a wonderful array of natural stone floors that look great and are hard-wearing and practical. The company was founded in Monmouthshire, and now has stores in Cardiff, Bath, Cheltenham, Exeter and Weybridge.

Accessories are essential for putting the finishing touches to a room. They bring life to a space, especially as they often have personal resonance - artefacts brought home from holidays, gifts, heirlooms...

The trick is in displaying them - items such as jugs and vases often look better clustered together. They don't have to match - casual groupings look great. And they don't have to be displayed in a rigidly tidy row, bits and bobs that look as though they have landed up there by accident can have an easy charm.

Yvonne Jones is a Royal College of Art trained designer, and owner of Chameleon Interiors. Call 029 2037 1277 or visit
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 11, 2012
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