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The Insider: How to create your own space

Need a home office? Or somewhere to sew? Or even a place just to sort bills without everyone else in your face? Carve out your own space, says Caroline Clifton-Mogg in A Space of My Own (£19.99, Ryland Peters), "and you'll be more productive, more organised, even more creative". Her book is full of inspiring tips to transform tiny corners and spare rooms into just that. Here are my faves (plus a few of my own).

Cast a fresh glance

"Look at every bit of your home differently," advises Clifton-Mogg. "In a familiar building, we walk past alcoves, skirt half-landings and don't see odd angled spaces under the stairs. And as for cupboards and corridors..."

Guest of honour

Got someone "squatting" in the guest-room? Consider a sofa bed – "It's more professional," says Clifton-Mogg. Using it for meetings? "Your desk should face the door."

Blind spot

A window is wonderful – but get a black-out blind for sun glare if you're computer-bound. Try John Lewis.

It's behind you!

Small desk? For me, the ideal is a "dumping" shelf or ledge behind your chair: un-filed overspill builds – this keeps it off your work area.

Interest added on

Corporate furniture depresses me: Clifton-Mogg's quirky desk suggestions include an upturned door balanced on two filing cabinets (spray-painted, ideally) and old kitchen tables (with drawers).

Let 'em hang

Wall-mounted lights free up space. "If there are shelves above, consider kitchen downlighters."

Small and beautiful

Compact space? Futoncompany.co.uk does a slim, lean-to oak shelving/desk unit (£179). Shelves equal order, says Clifton-Mogg, without which "all else will be in vain".

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at yourhomeislovely.com