14 Minimalist Nail Art Designs That Aren't Boring

Updated 10/09/19

Byrdie 

When we think nail art, phrases like "cue the drama," "not for the faint of heart," and "go big or go home" immediately jump top of mind. However, following a stretch of hard-hitting research (i.e., scrolling, tapping, and screenshotting furiously through our manicure-heavy Instagram feeds), we discovered quite the contrary. The realization: Despite common thought, there are plenty of nail art designs dexterously catered to even the most minimalist of mani lovers.

Therefore, we decided to curate our own gallery catering to every type of minimalist on the spectrum—from the most restrained to the most maximalist. Make sense? So, without further ado, here are 14 dangerously demure nail art ideas to strike the fancy of every kind of minimalist.

Hand with French manicure
@basecoatnailsalon

At first glance, this elegant look might appear to be your typical French manicure. Upon closer examination, however, you'll notice the subtle metallic sheen from a supporting stripe underneath the trademark white tip (making it a brilliant option for the minimalist who wants a fresher version of the classic style).

Two hands with geometric green and blue manicure
@mpnails

Consider this sprightly minimalist nail art the ultimate antidote to a bad case of the winter blues. Spring for shades of sea foam, robin's egg, and sky blue for an ultra-fresh finish that's non-aggressive in nature.

Two hands with ombre pink and purple manicure
@mpnails

All right, all right. For the minimalists on the more dramatic side of the spectrum, a gradient nail art design melding hues of magenta and violet feels bold but never overly so.

Two hands with number manicure against denim
@mpnails

We love how unexpected and outside-the-box these adhesives are. And in white, they're kind of like the French tip 2.0, no?

Blue geometric manicure with maroon details
@jinsoon

We're not sure what we love more: the rich shade of periwinkle or the Southwestern-inspired design scheme. Regardless, the dusty shades have us smitten.

Two hands with red stripe manicure
@mpnails

Coral checkered lines provide striking interest without taking over the entirety of your a nail. And while a completely checkered nail is show stopping in its own right, this vertical version is a happy medium.

Two hands with red square manicure
@mpnails

The best way to upgrade your go-to minimalist nude nail? A tiny red-hot stamp of geometry front and center.

Two hands with minimal gold line manicure
@oliveandjune

Thin stripes of gilded foil paired with a see-through base make for minimalist nail art that's one part enchanting, one part virtually invisible.

Hand with eye manicure
@mpnails

Yes, the evil-eye trend is still going strong, and it happens to be an eye-catching option if you're equally entranced by the impact of negative space. 

Hand with orange manicure against leaf
@basecoatnailsalon

For those who love the classic lines of a traditional French manicure but crave just a bit more color (it's almost spring, after all), this faintly edgier option has everything you need: an atomic shade of orange and a slightly deeper inset.

Two hands with geometric black and white manicure
@mpnails

Subtle swipes of black and white along the edges of the nail bed make for barely there minimalist nail art with a flash of chic respectability. 

Hand with one rhinestone nail holding rhinestone embellishment
@jinsoon

For the sparkle-inclined, may we suggest your trademark nude with a hearty splash of color and sparkle? Keeping the glamour to one nail alone takes the edge off for maximum (minimalist) appeal.

Hand with metallic embellishment manicure
@oliveandjune

Truth: The shattered glass and holographic nail trends may not be "minimalist," per se, but if they're kept exclusive to dainty leaves and diamonds, well, therein lies potential. 

Hand with black manicure embellished with sparkly stars
@mpnails

Again, this starstruck take might be on the more dramatic side of the minimalist continuum, but considering the sparkling stars are akin in color to the cool matte base (inky black and complementary shades of copper), we think it could pass as minimalist nail art for the more galactically inclined.

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