22 Manicure Ideas for May That Usher In the Summer Vibes

Manicure with translucent pale base, rainbow aura designs, and gold north star decals


Can you believe it's already May? That's almost halfway through yet another year. But instead of getting caught up in an existential crisis about how fast time flies, allow us to turn your attention to May nail art ideas. Where some months, like March, October, and December, are synonymous with specific polish colors and designs, May offers a bit more room for interpretation. Whether you equate the month of May with fresh flowers, bright colors, or the unofficial start of summer, we've got you covered with plenty of pretty manicures to recreate in the days and weeks ahead. Keep reading to uncover over a dozen May nail art ideas that will have you ready for warm, sunny days galore.

01 of 22

Royal Abstract

Manicure with neutral base and royal blue abstract design


Looking forward to pool season kicking into full gear? Show off your love of this time of year with a vibrant blue mani like this one. Since it's royal blue, it doubles as a great idea for those who enjoy following the UK royal family, given the coronation is on May 6.

02 of 22

Peach Ombré

Neutral peach to bright orange ombre manicure


Vivid orange is one of the most popular colors this year, so opting for any form of peach, papaya, or tangerine nails this May is a good idea. We love the sun-kissed feel of this ombré design, which allows you to balance out muted neutrals with a heated pop of color.

03 of 22

Clear Skies Ahead

Manicure with sky blue and white flowers, French tips, and solid accent nails


As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. If one of your favorite things about the month of May is how everything comes into bloom, going with a floral-focused nail art idea is a great route to take.

04 of 22

Royal Matisse

Abstract royal blue and white nail design


Love the royal blue idea but want to get a bit more detailed? Consider a Matisse-inspired mani.

05 of 22

Blue Velvet Nails

Blue Velvet Nails


Velvet nails remain a popular manicure trend in 2023, so this royal blue version fits right in as a May nail art idea. If you enjoy a good Canadian tuxedo moment in the spring, this is the perfect way to drive the look home.

06 of 22

Abstract Rainbow

Neutral French manicure with abstract scalloped designs in rainbow colors


You don't have to stick to blue, as May is a time when you can embrace every color of the rainbow, especially if you want to get a head start on Pride, which is in June. We love the look of this micro French mani with abstract borders.

07 of 22

Folklore Floral

Manicure with red base and colorful floral on white background accent nails


Red, white, and blue nail art ideas work well for May, as well, given the timing of Memorial Day. If you want to switch things up from a straightforward flag or fireworks design, consider this folksy, scallop-bordered mani.

08 of 22

Daisy Delight

Nude manicure with pink and yellow daisy designs


If you prefer more neutral nails, sticking to a bare base accented with tiny pops of color might be more up your alley. We love the look of this dainty floral design.

09 of 22

Wavy Daisies

Manicure with wavy pink, blue, green, and red design and white daisies


Love the daisy idea but want to embrace all the colors? Check out this groovy floral design by Nailing Hollywood nail artist Morgan Dixon.

10 of 22

Rainbow Aura Nails

Off-white manicure with colorful aura designs and gold north star stickers


Mercury is in retrograde for half of May, so if you want to tap into your astrology-obsessed side, perhaps you'll consider a vibrant, aura-inspired mani. We love this rainbow version by nail artist Brittney Ellen.

11 of 22

Mermaidcore French Tips

French manicure with teal metallic tips


Mermaidcore is one of the biggest trends of summer 2023, so if you want to lean into it a bit early, consider recreating this metallic turquoise French mani. You can also easily adapt this to whatever reef-ready color suits your fancy, be it green, purple, or salmon pink.

12 of 22

Vivid Swirls

Manicure with rainbow swirl nail design


With so much color blooming all around, it's only natural to want to embrace a bright color palette for your May nails. If that tracks, check out this shimmery squiggle mani. Ellen used the Cirque Colors Surfer's Crush Collection ($97) to bring it to life.

13 of 22

Maximalist Floral Nails

Multicolored manicure with flower petal corner nail designs


One of the best ways to create a May mani is to think of all the prettiest colors that come back into sight this time of year, then put them on your nails. One way to do so is by recreating this abstract multicolor floral mani.

14 of 22

Bubblegum Florals

Bubblegum manicure with colorful leaf and floral nail designs


Still hanging onto spring's pastel palette as you begin leaning towards summer? Mixing pastels and brights will help you make the transition.

15 of 22

Floral Grid Nails

Wavy checkered manicure with floral designs


Checkered nails are popular in 2023, as are grid nails. Since flowers are everywhere in May, these colorful baby daisies create a fitting finishing touch.

16 of 22

Coral and Chrome

Coral manicure with abstract chrome nail design


Coral might seem like a hot summer color, which means it's a great option for Memorial Day nails. Don't shy away from embracing the hue this May, and add a touch of chrome to give the look a 2023 feel.

17 of 22

Aura Drops

Peach opaque manicure with colorful aura drop designs and gems


If you like the idea of aura nails but prefer more neutral nails overall, consider this rendition. While still colorful, more of your natural nail will shine through. Plus, how cute are the dewdrop-inspired rhinestones?

18 of 22

Pressed Florals

Manicure with neutral base, colorful glitter, and pressed flower accents


As precious as hand-painted flowers are for May manicures, check out this shimmery ombré situation showcasing real pressed blooms. Consider us impressed!

19 of 22

Groovy Blooms

Manicure with neutral base, multicolored wavy half design, and off-white daisies


Greens and blues may not seem like your classic May palette, but think about the world around us. Freshly cut grass, bright blue skies, more daylight—these colors track.

20 of 22

Barbiecore Nails

Hot pink manicure with French tip accent nails with gems


Barbiecore remains a popular trend here in 2023—especially as we near ever closer to the Barbie movie premiere in July. To show off your love for the Mattel doll, adopt a hot pink mani that matches the one above by using The Gel Bottle's Gel Polish ($19) in the shade Gilly.

21 of 22

Watermelon Nails

Watermelon-inspired manicure with lemon-lime green French tips and hot pink aura center


Watermelon nails have been making the rounds on socials, so we couldn't leave them out—especially since the fruit is a staple for many Memorial Day cookouts. This design mixes together hot pink, an aura base, and baby French tips, so you can tackle multiple trends in one mani.

22 of 22

Rainbow Micro French

Manicure with neutral base and multicolored micro French tips


Last but not least, a micro French mani in whatever palette you desire never goes out of style. It's an especially great idea for those who want to wear color but prefer a more simple nail look, plus it's one of the easier May nail art ideas to DIY: Just pick out your colors and use the Orly Half Moon Guides ($6) to outline your tips.

Related Stories