The Darkie Designs team recently had the pleasure of working with Silvia Picchi, owner and manager of Giraffe and Zebra Lodge, based in Wildlife Estate, Hoedspruit.

In need of a modern-day update, the knowledgeable Darkie Design project management team, lead by owner Bianca Black took to work. True to their promise to “help every client tell their own story through their home decor”, the team brought their beautiful, refined, African-inspired design and décor skills to life, while working hand-in-hand with the input of Silvia throughout the two projects.

Here is what Silvia had to say about her experience working with Darkie Designs…

‘’Working with the Darkie Designs team was great, I really loved working side-by-side with Bianca and Jana, and they truly make a great team. I found them to be thoroughly helpful, readily available as and when needed, not-to-mention always prepared and ready to find the best possible solution when it came to costs and working within our budget.

Darkie Designs completely delivered on the vision of our lodge makeover, with the end product being better than I could have ever imagined. Despite the fact that the entire project ran a little over budget, this was not due to any fault of the Darkie Designs team, but rather because of unplanned structural issues and changing my mind during the project!

Overseeing two projects in one

Considering that we worked on two projects concurrently, both Giraffe and Zebra lodges, everything was delivered on-time and without delay. I was impressed with the level of experience held by the Darkie Designs team, and blown away by their style and level of taste.

I would highly recommend choosing Darkie Designs as a project management team. I found them to be exceptionally kind, great listeners, offering really sound advice which truly took into account my personal taste and budget.

My favourite part of the entire process is the fact that I was offered the opportunity to have my own say when it came to choosing the fabrics used throughout the project. I felt this made a world of difference. Overall it was a really positive experience, where minor issues were handled extremely well by the team!’’

If you’re looking for an affordable, professional and well-experienced project management team for your home or lodge refurbishment, you would do well to get in touch with the team at Darkie Designs!

Is your open plan home feeling a little too, well, open? Add some structure, texture and dimension with the help of strategic layering and contrasts. Here’s how it’s done!


Chuck those boring old curtains or blinds out of the window and go for something more daring this time around! We can highly recommend experimenting with panels.

Place these stylish window treatments at differing heights and depths for a fashionable structural effect. Research has shown that panels last longer than most other window solutions on the market today so know that you’ll also be getting a much better bang for your buck when you use panels as window décor!


The problem with open plan living is that everything can start looking slightly one dimensional. The secret to avoiding this, and making individual areas a bit more interesting, is to add elements of extra height wherever you can. A large, tall lamp with a modern design, for example, can break the sense of monotony while also adding to the style, look and feel of the interior of your home. It is also the perfect opportunity to throw in a cheeky pop of colour.


Just because you live in an open plan house doesn’t mean that you can’t strategically section out different rooms within the space. If you’re the creative type, anything is possible! How about crafting your own make-shift screen out of wooden slats? You’ll be amazed at how big of a difference this subtle addition can make to your interior!


Contrast is the key to creating texture in an open plan home, so create it whenever and however you can!

While focusing on colour in terms of ensuring a good mix of both neutrals and bolder hues within each portion of the interior is a great place to start, you can also apply the art of contrast to your furniture. For instance, a plush couch with soft curves can look incredible when paired with wooden, angular chairs in the living area.

Use patterned or vibrantly coloured rugs to draw attention from one area to another. The change in pattern or colour can clearly define an area – this is our dining space but here is our  living room.

Go Green

Effortlessly breathe life into your home by placing a few unique house plants throughout the space. Green plants look best when placed within a colourful area, whereas flowering plants can brighten up an open plan home that relies mostly on neutral tones.

Is choosing a fancy new duvet cover the extent to which you have experimented with the art of interior decorating so far?

There’s always time to learn the basics around using unique décor elements in order to make your bedroom not only a space in which you feel comfortable and content, but also a space that communicates, at a glance, who you are as a person. One of the best ways to do this is to pay special attention to the area just beyond the end of your bed.

Here are some of our top décor ideas for really transforming this usually mundane aspect of your bedroom into something truly extraordinary.


Are you the type of person who cannot go to sleep without burying their nose in a book for a few minutes before you close your eyes? Then a small, antique-y bookcase is the perfect end-of-bed accessory to consider.

In order to achieve the right aesthetic, try to find a bookcase that is of a similar height to your bed itself.

A Coffee Table

A long, narrow coffee table or desk, stacked with magazines and a few other interesting trinkets can add a modern touch to the interior. Plus, if you need to work or study, it can be extremely functional as well!

This décor trick works best if the coffee table or desk is the same height as your bed. If your bed is relatively low, go the hippy route and sit cross-legged on a comfy cushion, as opposed to a boring old chair, whenever you need to get some work done.


Ottomans placed at the foot of the bed always look quirky yet elegant. If your bed is a queen or a king, why not double up and place two of them next to each other instead of just one?

Tip: Short on storage space? Find an ottoman (or have one made up to fit the width of your bed) with a hinge top that opens up to reveal ample storage space for extra blankets, cushions or even a winter duvet.


While you possibly wouldn’t have ever thought of placing a couch in your bedroom, let alone using it as a means for decorating the end of your bed, it can look surprisingly chic! Not only does it add an element of uniqueness to the space, but it also provides another seating option which is great for curling up on and reading a book or getting lost in your thoughts when you don’t feel quite ready to hit the hay (or the day).

An extra seating area in a bedroom is a warm and welcoming addition, often quite simply to keep the family off the bed. Think chaise longue, two armchairs and a table, a nest of lounging ottomans or even a simple bench with scatter cushions – the options are endless.

Use the end of your bed to add your own personal quirkiness to your bedroom. It’s a space that is often overlooked, yet one that can be so well used.

The shabby chic trend is one that is truly versatile. The beauty of incorporating shabby chic into your home is the freedom to update, mix and match and change things up as and when you please.

With an eclectic mix of retro, antique, vintage vibes and modern statement pieces, the shabby chic trend is timeless. It’s the best ever excuse to bring a fresh feel to your home, any time of the year.

If you haven’t quite nailed the art of shabby chic in your home, here are some of our top 5 ideas to consider…

Mix Things Up

If there was one defining characteristic of the shabby chic trend, it would be the freedom to mix and match colours, textures, materials and styles. Essentially, shabby chic is defined by combining an eclectic mix of things into one room.

A great way to combine different forms of colour and texture is with wood. Things like wooden furniture, wooden picture frames and even décor pieces which can also be easily DIY-ed and updated when you feel like it are a great base for building a shabby chic foundation into your home. Keep it interesting by combining a neutral base colour in your furniture (white is always popular) with pops and splashes of colour and texture in your curtains, cushions and with other types of wood furniture.

Think Vintage

This trend just wouldn’t be the same without a hint of vintage throughout your décor. Shabby chic is perfectly pulled together with elements of vintage including faded wooden signage, vintage crockery pieces, a few rustic chairs, wicker baskets, a mis-match of vases and pots – the list goes on.

A great idea is to visit a vintage store or even a local garage sale for items that you can then re-purpose to add to the shabby chic feel of your home. Another effective way of bringing in a vintage feel is incorporating soft, pastel colours through cushions, curtains, wall colour and carpets.

It’s All About the Nooks & Crannies

A shabby chic kitchen or dining area wouldn’t be complete without a signature nook area. Ideally, this nook would fit right under a large window, where you can decorate with floral-printed cushions, hanging pot plants, fairy lights, an ornate mirror or even a quirky cha

ndelier as a source of light in this area.

Take it to the Bedroom

One of the best ways to add a shabby chic feel to a main room or guest bedroom is by adding a large, statement headboard. Now, this really doesn’t need to put you out-of-pocket, it can simply be done with a little DIY handiwork! Here you can get creative and re-purpose a pair of old doors, some old crates or even an old wooden fence! Just ensure the wood is adequately re-surfaced with a treatment and paint before bringing it indoors – you don’t want to be explaining splinters in your head to friends and family!

Statement Chandeliers

Wondering where the ‘chic’ element of this trend comes in? Well, chandeliers are a great way to tie together a shabby chic look while adding a touch of glamour to any room. A beautifully ornate chandelier also helps to bring your room into a more modern sphere, without things looking stark or barren. Add a delicately decorated crystal or glass chandelier to a main bedroom, in your lounge, over a kitchen island or even in a bathroom for an elegant twist.

If you’re a lover of DIY, crafts and all things vintage, shabby chic is the ideal décor theme to add to any room in your home. Visit us in-store at Darkie Designs for an incredible selection of eclectic, quirky and unique décor pieces to tie your shabby chic look together.

You may or may not have noticed – but accent chairs are a big thing in interior décor these days! If you’re looking for a simple yet effective way to incorporate a little flare, pizazz, character or quirkiness to your room in an instant, an accent chair is a great option.

Why accent chairs? Because they are low-maintenance, they take up minimal space in a room, yet still make their mark, they are practical, serve a purpose and don’t break the bank!
Whether you’re looking for pure practicality or a bold piece that will be a conversation stopper (or starter), here are 5 accent chairs you should consider adding to your home…

1. Velvet & Wood

Velvet is back, and in a good way! It doesn’t have to be frumpy – channel a little 50’s glamour with a dusty-pink crushed velvet seat, set atop light-wash wooden legs. This type of feminine accent chair is ideal for a main bedroom or make-up table, with hints of dusty pink or rose echoed throughout the rest of the décor. It could sit just as comfortably in a large retro styled bathroom.

2. The Swan Chair

This is a beautiful unisex bedroom or nursery accent chair. With its comfortable bucket seat, back support and accompanying foot rest, the swan chair is a swaddle for adults! Typically framed in metal and covered by a fabric colour of your choosing, this accent chair is built for relaxation and comfort, and would fit perfectly into an empty corner of a main bedroom or child’s nursery.

3. Faux Leather & Wood

The timeless combination of leather and wood is forever modern and luxurious. An accent chair crafted from an oak-wash wood and upholstered tan leather seats is the ideal addition to a more formal room, such as a home study or formal lounge area. This accent chair is also neutral enough to combine an assortment of colours and textures throughout the room décor, without overwhelming the space, but still making a stylish statement.

4. Gold & Faux Fur

One of the most on-trend home décor pieces to add to any room right now is the faux fur accent chair, crafted from either a gold or rose gold metal base, topped with a fluffy faux fur seat in white or cream. This is the ultimate accent chair to make a statement in various rooms throughout your home. Whether it’s your lounge, a bedroom make-up chair or a home office chair, gold and faux fur is anything but tacky!

5. All About Floral

If you’re looking for a simple way to add a bright pop of colour to a room, a floral upholstered accent chair is your answer. Turn an old and tired arm chair into a beautiful, unique and fun statement piece, the ideal accent chair for a lounge, dining room or even an outdoor seating area.

If you’ve recently inherited an eye-sore piece of furniture from a family member or just don’t know what to do with a tired and withered-looking chair, re-upholstery is a life-saver. Our team at Darkie Designs specialises in the re-upholstery of furniture – get in touch with us to bring your accent chair back to life!