We're Really Into These 30 Nail Designs for Short Nails

Short nails deserve love, too.

Short nails designs

Sure, long nails are nice, but a couple of weeks in and they can start to feel more high-maintenance than they're worth. (We've had the random jagged tips and scratched eyelids to prove it). What's more is that short nails, even if they seem to be having less of a moment as of late, can still be super chic.

In fact, certain nail designs almost seem to lend themselves better to a shorter length than long. Don't believe us? We scoured the Internet for 30 of the most eye-catching nail designs for short nails we've quite possibly ever seen—and succeeded.

Keep reading for the must-see looks we'll be trimming our nails for ASAP.

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Race Style Checkers

Black and white nails are always chic. Plus, race-worthy checks only make them look better. We love how it's only half the nail, so no having to worry about that awkward grown-out phase.

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Multi-Color Abstract Strokes

Light and feathery strokes featuring bold colors add a pop of intrigue to the stark white base.

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Mid-Size Burgundy Stars

The combination of light pink and deep burgundy, plus a dusting of eye-catching stars, looks flawless on short nails.

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Shimmer Stripe Accent Nail

For a sleek and simple (but still stunning) nail design for short nails, simply start with a neutral or bare base and finish with a single shimmering stripe. It's super easy to maintain, but chic enough to wear to a formal event.

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Tiny Tartan

We can't stand the chicness of this delicate plaid pattern in the perfect neutral color scheme.

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Bright Leopard

Not for the faint of heart, but if you have a thing for leopard print and vibrant contrasting colors, this manicure looks especially fierce on shorter nails.

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Palm Fronds

If you can't actually be lying beneath the palms, having them on your tips might just be the next best thing, right?

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Scenic Winter Mountains

Slightly Frozen–esque in inspiration, we're head over heels (or should we say fingers?) for this iced and edgy nail design.

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One Subtle Addition

Truth: A broken heart adorning our nails is the only broken heart we want in our lives. The small design adds a pop of bright orange to an otherwise neutral mani.

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Rainbow in Negative Space

Not only do whimsical rainbows add a dose of graphic appeal to short nails, but they simultaneously channel the negative space trend.

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Red Eyes

Between the eye-catching graphic and candy-apple base, this nail design couldn't be better for short nails.

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Camo Print

Another unexpected option? A glossy iteration of camo in moody shades of blue and striking pops of black and white.

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Art Deco Squiggles

Unconventional color pairings like cobalt blue, bubblegum pink, silver, and white keep short nails anything but boring.

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Standout Hearts

"Heart print" is the new "polka dot print," as far as we're concerned.

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Checkered Lines

These bright pink and red blocks sit front and center on your nail, giving a polished and playful vibe to a modern design.

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Short nails can still handle a pattern, and this cow-print inspired set is giving us major country-chic vibes.

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Shiny Mermaid Scales

Shimmering scales in turquoise and gold make for a bold and ethereal nail design that, though dramatic, won't overwhelm a shorter nail length.

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Metallic Green and Delicate Leaves

A metallic green base adds an air of holiday cheer while leaf stencils stand out on contrast nails for a whimsical finish. While these leaves look hand-painted, you can always opt for a sticker like the What's Up Nails Leaves Vinyl Stencils ($5) for an easy go-to.

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Cranberry Toned Stripes

If you're not yet a nail design expert, try a halfway style like these bold two-tone stripes. They're easy enough to recreate—just apply crafty tape and get to work. Plus, you can use this stylish and simple look with any color combo your heart desires.

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Gray, Black, and White Boxes

If stripes aren't your thing, go boxy instead with this emoji-inspired look. Tape is probably your new best friend in order to get a steady and even design—but don't worry, the color palette makes it easy to go back and correct if needed.

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Vacation Inspired

These vacation-inspired nails are decked out in intricate fruity drinks that have us seriously longing for a cabana and some sun.

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Neutral Plaid

A beige base makes for a neutral-toned look, but an added plaid style design amps up the impact for a subtle yet interesting finish. Make it easy on yourself by grabbing a set of the Winstonia Super Fine Nail Art Brush Set ($8) to get the crisp lines needed to complete the look.

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Black and White Inverse

Elongate short nails by painting a cuticle framing black-and-white pattern. The plus side? It looks great no matter how fast your nails grow.

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Pastel French Mani

Keeping shorter nails doesn't mean you skimp on fun. These pastel French tips are so lovely and cheerful.

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Half and Half

Can't decide on one color? It's okay, choose both (in this case, a neon green and a shiny sliver) and paint in vertical (or diagonal!) half-and-half sections.

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Sharp Lines

Paint a few razor-sharp lines across a dried clear basecoat for a fashionable and minimalistic design.

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Red Negative Space

Red nail polish adds an extra bright pop of color when painted in this chic negative space design.

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Taste the Rainbow

Decorate each nail with a burst of cheerful color! This manicure has it all with sweet clouds and a small rainbow design on a few accent nails.

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Glitzy Negative Space

Keep it party-ready and edgy with this sparkly negative space design. Use tape to keep the lines clean and add as much glitter as your heart desires.

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Burgundy and Gold Foil

A simple burgundy mani gets a serious upgrade with gold foil accents. Get creative with the design and give each nail a unique splash of gold.

What short-nail designs will you be rocking in the near future? Would you consider trying out shorter acrylics?

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