You can’t beat nail art that’s simple and elegant. I love trying trends, getting creative, and using stickers as much as the next nail junkie.
Intricate designs and bold trends are fun to try out every other manicure, but sometimes you need something simple. After all, microtrends can last as few as two weeks before it’s not seen as fashionable.
Simple, in this case, doesn’t mean boring; it’s timeless and elegant. It’s a nail design you can use no matter what the trend cycle says.
These nail designs are simple enough that beginners can do them at home.
1. Pink chrome
Chrome nails took social media by storm thanks to Hailey Bieber’s glazed doughnut nails. Though they were all the rage, they’re also a timeless nail design. There’s no denying that these simple pink nails with a little bit of iridescent shine are going to disappear anytime soon. Plus, they’re easy to do without taking a trip to the salon. All you need is a light shade of pink and a chrome powder or top coat to give the manicure its signature shine.
2. Sunset ombre
Ombre nails have been around, which only shows how enduring they are. This manicure uses two pastels that look like the sky around sunset.
Recreate this look with a makeup sponge and two nail polish colors. Add the polish right next to each other on the sponge, then dab it on the nails. You can use Elmer’s glue or peel-off latex to keep the polish from getting on your fingers.
3. Black V-Tips
A slightly edgier take on the classic French manicure, these black V-tips are elegant in a sexy way. The pretty pinkish nude serves as the base for this simple manicure. The edges are lined with black polish, which is accentuated by the almond shape. They create a point that elongates the finger. And the addition of the dot at the cuticle makes this manicure feel modern.
4. Creamsicle nails
These nails are reminiscent of a warm summer day, eating a creamsicle in the sun. Orange is a great shade to add to infuse some fun into a simple manicure. The mix of nail styles keeps this manicure current and vibrant. Solid nails next to ombre next to swirls with silver accents. With basic nail tools like a sponge and toothpick, you can recreate this look at home.
5. Little hearts
Cute little hearts for a simple manicure. These nails mix simplistic elegance with a bit of dainty adorableness. The base is a nude with a pink tint, which gives a pretty and classy look to the manicure. Drawn on are little pastel hearts that are so small you barely notice them. This manicure is easy to recreate with nail art tools or delicate heart stickers.
6. Colorful colorblock
Colorful and modern, these nails could sit in a modern art gallery. They look like artistic recreations made in miniature for a manicure. The simple nail design is easy to accomplish at home. Choose five colors and swipe one across the corner of each fingernail. With a thin nail art brush, draw a white line three-fourths way across the nail. Finish with a glossy top coat to give it shine.
7. Speckle and splatter
Channel your inner Jackson Pollack to recreate these nails. They’re simple to do and add an artistic elegance to your manicure. You’ll need a neutral base and black and white nail polish–or whichever colors you prefer. After your base dries, put a little of the paint on a paintbrush, not a nail brush, and flick at the nails to create the splatters. Put down paper to catch the mess.
8. Easy swirls
Mod swirls are one of the most popular designs. And while it’s a trend, the simplistic art has endured a few trend cycles. And when designs are simple, they can quickly become timeless. The mint and dark green add a fun element to this simple manicure. Paint your nails a light green base and use a thin nail brush to create swirling lines across the nails with dark green polish.
9. Graphic negative space
Another fun twist on a French manicure, this manicure recreates the classic design using negative space. The nails are painted with a nude base.
Using black polish and a thin nail art brush, trace the edges of the nail and then a triangle to make a graphic French tip nails. A light pink triangle at the base of the nail also calls back to the colors of a traditional French mani.
10. Celestial nails
Celestial nails will never go out of style. They’re elegant with a mystical element. And this simple manicure highlights these designs perfectly. Use a translucent white polish as the base. Then using a gold nail polish or gold dust, create stars and a moon on the nail. Gold star and moon charms add a three-dimensional element to the nail. You can attach them with nail glue or UV gel.
11. Simple set
Sometimes, the simpler, the better. You can’t go wrong one pretty color on all of your nails.
A simple solid color is a great way to highlight your nail shapes, like the almond shape featured here.
A soft neutral or pastel is can add a clean or feminine touch, but moodier colors can bring in an edgy elegance. Add a glossy or matte top coat to finish.
12. Split French manicure
Can’t decide on a color to update your French manicure? Why not have two? This split manicure is elegant and playful. Use a nude polish to serve as the base. Then use black and white nail polish to create the tips. You can use half-moon guides to create the shape of the French tip and tip to get the crisp line between the two colors.
13. Sparkling polka dots
Simple but also fun and festive, this manicure is a great holiday manicure or a simple metallic design. And you only need a few tools to recreate this nail. You can use a translucent pink to add a soft base. Then use a small dotting tool and metallic gold polish to create lines of polka dots across your nails. Or use small dot nail stickers if you don’t want to use paint. Top it with a clear glossy to finish the manicure.
14. Simple Graphic Lines
This adds a simple and elegant twist to the abstract shape manicure that’s been trending recently. This manicure uses a light pink and pinkish nude as the backdrop to crisp back lines and curves. Paint the full nails with the pinky nude, then layer on the light pink in abstract shapes and diagonal corners. Then use a thin brush to draw black lines vertically and diagonally across the nail.
15. Corner rainbows
Add a fun pop of color but not to the entire nail. You can create a corner rainbow with a few colors. Use pinkish nude as the base of the nail. This manicure uses five colors, but you can use less if you would prefer. And you can choose which colors you want to feature in your manicure. Use tape as a guide to keep the lines clean.
16. Rainbow across the fingers
Solid nails are always a pretty, simple manicure. But sometimes, you can’t choose only one color to feature on your manicure. There’s no rule that says you have to choose one color. You can paint each finger a different color to show off a stunning color scheme. Finished with a glossy top coat to give the manicure a shine.
17. Half moon cuticles
Give a subtle pop of color by highlighting around the cuticle and side of the nail. To recreate this look, you can paint the full nail a neutral beige, then use a small nail art brush to line the sides of the nail and around the cuticle. A glossy finish makes this an elegant manicure.
18. Dainty daisies
A floral design will always be elegant. And these flowers are easy to recreate with the right tools. Use a pale pink as the backdrop for your manicure. Then use white and yellow polish to create delicate flowers. The center is a yellow dot, and use the white polish to create the petals.
19. Muted matte
Another twist on the classic solid nails is the muted matte nails. These muted tones are a fun way to add color without using overwhelmingly bold shades. The solid color highlights the crisp square shape of these nails. And the matte top coat adds an earthy elegance to the manicure.
20. Linear design
This linear design highlights the extra-long length of these almond nails. They have a modern touch without being too trendy. The blush pink base allows the simple black design to stand out. An ultra-thin nail brush can recreate these sleek likes. And use tape to block off the tips to get a crisp finish.
21. Little star
Feel like a star by putting some on your manicure. These nails are so easy to recreate; you can probably do them in a few minutes. A nude base creates the backdrop, and bright blue stars add a fun pop to the nails. But you don’t have to draw them on; you can use nail stickers. They stick to nails and add a clear top coat to secure them.
22. Glitter all over
All-over glitter is simple to do and a fun element while still remaining elegant. Glittery nails are a great option if you’re going to an event like a wedding, where you want to dress your manicure up a little. Use glittery nail polish to cover the nails. Or apply loose glitter onto a base coat and seal it in with a top coat.
23. Vertical lines
Vertical lines can lengthen the nail, so if you want to make your nails appear longer, this is the manicure for you. These dual lines can show off black and white to keep the nails neutral or two bright shades for a pop of color. If you have a steady hand, use a thin nail brush for the lines. Or use tape as a guide to make crips lines.
24. Metallic purple
Metallic is a fun way to add a pop to the typical solid manicure. But there’s no reason to stick to the standard metallics like gold and silver. A color with a metallic finish adds something unexpected. This shiny purple manicure is simple yet eye-catching and highlights the length of these nails.
25. Scalloped French tip
Add a feminine touch to your classic French manicure. Instead of doing a clean curve, create a scalloped inner edge.
Use your standard technique to create a French manicure, using the guide to create the basic curved shape. Then, with a dotting tool, add light dots across the inner edge to make scalloping. This nail art work great with short nail designs.
26. Groovy curves
The 70s are back in style and they’re prettier than they’ve ever been. It’s easy to recreate these simple shapes to make a groovy makeover. And these earth tones help calm down the boldness of the manicure. Use a nude polish as the backdrop. Then use a warm brown and green to create swirls and curved shapes across the nails.
27. Confetti edges
You’ll be able to do this manicure in only a few minutes and with only two tools. You can leave your nails natural or add a nude base polish. Then using a small and large dotting tool, add little polka dots to the tips of your nails. One large dot in the center anchor the nails, while three smaller dots on either side frame the edges.
28. Gold lightning
One accent nail is a fun way to add a graphic touch to a simple manicure. And since these nails only feature one design per hand, it’s a manicure you can recreate easily at home. Paint your nails a light blush pink to create the base. Then, on one nail of your choice, add a gold lightning bolt sticker. Add a top coat to keep the sticker secure.
29. Single gem
A simple addition to an already elegant French manicure. Use this nail design when you want to add a bit of subtle bling to your manicure. First, use a pearly pink base. Once that dries, use tape to create the V-pattern and ensure crisp lines. White nail polish creates the pointed French tip. Then add a little gem with nail glue for the subtle glam.
30. A little bit of tortoiseshell
Tortoiseshell is a classy and timeless design. And combined with a French manicure is always an elegant design. It adds an updated look to the classic design. Start with a neutral base coat as you would a standard French manicure. Then use a light brown to make a curve. Last add dark brown dots to create the tortoiseshell.
31. Floral French
Another updated French look, this manicure adds delicate yellow flowers on two of the nails. A neutral base makes these nails elegant, while the pale yellow adds a pop of color. Use a French tip guide to make the traditional curves. Then use nail art brushes to draw the little flowers along the edges of the other nails.
32. Pearl detail
What’s more elegant than pearls? These nails have pretty natural colors, including a pop of sea blue as the base of the nails. Tiny pearls create a little flower on the thumb. You can recreate these nails using flatback pearls and nail glue. Or use UV gel to keep the pearls more secure.
33. Gold leafing
This metallic detail is will add some elegance to an otherwise solid manicure. These are the perfect event manicure that is sure to turn heads wherever you go. Use a translucent white nail polish as the backdrop of the design. Then create an accent nail with gold foil. Add pieces that get smaller the further up the nail to create an ombre effect. Secure it with a glossy top coat.
34. Shades of brown
Warm shades of brown have been popular in recent years. But despite their trendiness, the color is timeless. Brown will always be on-trend, especially when paired with a classic French manicure. Using the same brown colors from te tips, one nail features simple little flowers. The stiletto shape adds an edginess to this usually soft manicure.
35. Gold charm
A little gold delta will always be an elegant touch. But these are unique because they add little charms rather than designs made with gold nail polish.
A neutral pink creates a solid and simple backdrop. And the little gold sun and star nail charms add a three-dimensional detail. This classic look won’t be out of style any time soon.
What are the 5 basic nail designs?
Many nail designs use a variation of the classic French manicure as the base of their design.
Florals and swirls are also considered two of the basic nail designs. Florals are popular because there are so many styles to create them, so artists can put their own twist on them.
The last two basic nail designs include graphic lines and dots, which can be done with dotting tools and nail brushes.
How many types of nail art are there?
There are endless types of nail art because you can create anything with creativity. But there are types of techniques to create different nail art.
Sponge bobbing to create gradients and ombre and stamping to add more intricate designs. Taping can help you achieve a clean, straight line.
Decals and stickers can add fun designs without having to use paint.
Which nail art is the best?
The best nail art depends on you!
Every type of nail art has its benefits and drawbacks, but there’s always a way to create the design you want.
For a more elegant style, you might opt for a simple solid or a French manicure. But for more colors, you might want to choose more intricate nail art.
What can you use for nail art?
You can get creative with nail art and try different materials. But having the basic tools will always help you bring your ideas to life.
Nail dotting tools and different-sized nail brushes can create a lot of designs.
For charms, gems, and pearls, nail glue or UV gel will keep them attached. And if you’d rather have art applied quickly, opt for stickers and decals.
Can I do nail art with normal polish?
You don’t need to buy any special polish or even paint to create your nail art designs. And with all the colors that regular nail polish comes in, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to having options.
Along with regular polish, you can also use gel polish and a UV lamp to create some looks. But if you don’t want to buy extra supplies, regular polish works just fine.
How do you apply nail art decorations?
It depends on the decorations. Nail art stickers already have an adhesive on the back, so all you have to do is remove them from their sheet and place them on the nail.
Be sure that the base polish is dry, so the sticker doesn’t smudge it. Add a clear top coat so the sticker stays down.
A similar method can be used for gold foil. For gems, flatback pearls, and charms, use nail glue or UV gel and a lamp to attach them.
How do you make easy nail designs?
Using simple tools, you can make most easy nail designs that still look stunning. Be sure that you use the right tools to help achieve the design you want.
Remember to go slow and don’t rush the design. A lot of easy nail designs will still require some time to get right. But you’ll save time not having to redo your nails.
How long do nail stickers last?
Nail stickers should last as long as your manicure does. For many, that means seven to fourteen days. But there are some factors that can affect this. Adding a top coat will definitely extend the life of your nail stickers.
The quality of the nail stickers will also have an effect. The higher the quality, in general, the longer your nail stickers will last.
How do you keep nail gems on?
Nail gems can be tricky. But using a good nail glue meant for gems and jewels will help keep nail gems on longer.
For a more secure material, you can use UV gel and a UV lamp, which is stronger than the standard glue. You should also be careful with your hands when wearing nail gems. Excessive water or hand washing can make gems fall off much easier.
Are French nails out of style?
French nails are timeless, so they’ll never go out of style.
The classic French is simple and elegant, and they look great on every nail shape.
What also keeps French manicures from going out of style is the constant recreation. Nair artists are always updating the trend and finding new ways to redesign it.
How can I make my nail art simple elegant better?
Even the best nail artists had to start somewhere, and they usually didn’t get amazing overnight. By practicing your nail art, you’ll hone your skills and learn the techniques that make them better.
Also, get inspiration and tips from other nail artists, and watch tutorials to see the process behind nail art. The more nail art you try, the better you’ll get at it.
Alexandria is a writer and content creator, writing about beauty, style, homes, and food. She also works in fiction, writing young adult novels. When she isn’t writing, Alexandria loves doing her own nails, trying new style trends, and finding a rooftop with a view to enjoy a fruity cocktail.