We don't know about you, but when our nails are pretty and painted we just feel more put together. Fortunately for us, it doesn't require being a pro nail artist to get the job done. In fact, simple nail art ideas are all the rage right now, popping up left and right on Instagram and real life. From minimalist negative space nail looks to modern French manicures, ahead you'll find 34 of our favorite simple nail art looks worth giving a try.
Dots and Dashes
This simple abstract design is great for anyone who favors a perfectly imperfect design. With a few dots and lines layered over a nude base, you have yourself a snap-worthy masterpiece.
Mini Half Moons
Believe it or not, you can create a pretty impactful manicure without even painting your entire nail. Just look at this mini half-moon design that features a triple-lined arc and lots of negative space.
Pink Tonal Fade
Rainbow manicure, mismatched nails, tonal fade—whatever you call this multi-colored manicure trend, this demure pink range slays it like no other. It's the ultimate neutral manicure that still offers a layer of intrigue thanks to varying hues. Best of all, it's incredibly easy to recreate given it only requires choosing five pink polishes and painting them on.
Dainty White Stripes
This simple matte manicure is eye-catching thanks to the tiniest white strip straight down the middle of each nail. The trick to creating a nail look like this is to use a nail-striping brush, like China Glaze Stripe Rite Best in Snow ($6). The ultra-slim brush makes nailing a perfectly straight line easier than ever.
Feeling starry-eyed? This glitzy star manicure is surprisingly simple to create. All you need are 50 gold star sequins (five for each nail) and your favorite topcoat. Use the topcoat to adhere the sequins to the nail and then apply a coat or two over top to seal them in place.
This simple baby blue manicure is giving us all the retro '50s vibes. The rounded almond shape adds even more allure to the two-tone nail look. Plus, it's a great option for brides looking to get creative with their "something blue."
Who needs shimmering sunlight to create a glistening nail look? Not us! With this creative design, you'll be able to mimic the appearance of a glittering manicure without worrying about showing off your nails in the right light.
This small-to-large dot manicure is done in varying pastel shades, in a way that makes it look almost holographic. The light, cool shades make for an alluring match when combined with a nude base, but just imagine the disco vibes if it were done with black.
If you don't have a proper nail blotting tool at home, just open up a bobby pin and use one of its rounded tips to create the same effect.
Tiny Polka Dots
All you need is your favorite hot pink polish and white nail polish pen to bring this look to life. Need a reco? Many nail lovers swoon over the Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Pen in white.
We love a minimalist dipped mani. Instead of a fully-dipped tip, take it diagonally with this geometric nail look. In addition to crisp, eye-catching lines, you'll notice that this simple mani features a super pale base that, if you look closely, is actually baby blue.
Rust Scalloped Tips
Cream and rust make for a delicious nail combo. This scalloped version brings images of abstract pumpkin pie to mind.
Navy Chevron Tips
Navy and nude, oh how we're obsessed with you. This shiny manicure is made totally Insta-worthy with it's elongated shape and simple points.
Another way to rock the mismatch mani is by confining the color solely to your cuticles. While this look is made with nude polish, it could be done with any—all of which are sure to turn heads.
For a nail look that's impactful as it is simple to create, check out this red manicure. It features full nail color as well as negative space. What's not to love?
Negative Space Nudes
These simple beauties are perfect for everyday gals and blossoming brides. They're simple, demure, and totally Pinterest-worthy.
Black and Glitter
Two jet-black nails and one glittery accent nail make for a simple mani that looks totally put together despite featuring two totally bare nails. We're here for it.
Embrace all the crystal vibes with these rose quartz-inspired nails. While creating the nail look may not be the most simple process, the end look is clean and pure, making it totally worth it.
A simple pinkish-nude base flecked with glitter turns out to be a simple nail look that gives off all the party vibes. And, if you use holographic glitter, it will be especially party-ready.
Love a glittery nail look but can't handle full nails decked out in the shimmering confetti? These half-outlined nails offer a chic way to rock the light-reflecting look.
These '80s-inspired pastel nails are giving us life. They give us old-school aerobics outfit vibes that simply can't be ignored.
These matte nails remind us of stained glass windows without the color. The thin, clean lines section each nail for a can't-look-away final result. Plus, look at those neon hints.
White and Nude
Who knew two neutral colors could make such a big impact with nothing but a simple swirl? This retro-inspired nail art design has been popping up left and right on the 'gram—and for good reason. It can be worn in any color combo and is suitable for all occasions.
Lines on Lines
This simple red and white design immediately grabs our attention. To create the look, start with a solid red base painted in a diagonal. Once dry, top it off with evenly-spaced lines in the opposite direction. Tres chic!
Another red and white cutie that steals the show? This simple dotted pattern. The easy-to-replicate design is just a red French manicure overlaid with white dots. We're all for it.
While this nail design will definitely take longer to bring to life, the end look is simple and refined. Using a bare nail as the base, the eye-catching allure of the nail design centers around the multi-colored gems used to create the blooms.
French manicures are having a major moment; so is neon. So, it only makes sense to combine the two. Here we have a moody gray and neon yellow combo, though you can swap out the colors for whatever fits your fancy. And, while the result looks super professional, it's actually easy to create with the help of circle stickers as a stencil for the rounded French tip.
Another negative space stunner, this nail look is all about minimalist swipes of color for a major impact. After all, have you ever seen such a fun mani? We think not.
Black Dot Details
Nude nails are never a bad idea—especially when you add cute black dots to the mix. Best of all, they're super easy to DIY. To get the look, dip a bobby pin into black polish and dab it onto your nail. Once dry, finish with a topcoat et voila.
White Lines and Gold Foil
Negative space, gold foil flecks, and curved white lines combine for a simply stunning nail look. Since foil can be tricky to DIY, your best bet is likely to head to the nail salon to bring this manicure to life. While there, have your manicurist show you how to create the look so you can eventually learn to do it at home.
Rose Gold Accent
We love rose gold nail accents nearly as much as we love negative space, so it's no wonder we fell head over heels as soon as we saw this simple manicure. All it takes is a clear basecoat, a single metallic rose gold stripe down the center of each nail, and clear topcoat. Talk about simple.
If you love the rainbow nail art trend but want to be more low key about it, check out this multi-colored dotted manicure. With dots confined to the cuticles of each nail, it flaunts a fun, colorful vibe without being totally attention-seeking.
Matte French Mani
We're madly in love with French manis—especially when they're unconventionally matte. Truly, how could you not be? They're simple, demure, and forever on-trend. And, fun fact, if matte is your goal, all it takes is topping off your favorite nail color with a matte topcoat, as opposed to seeking out a totally new nail collection to achieve the unshiny finish.
Another negative space beauty. To create the look, paint on a clear basecoat or light nude polish and stick gemstones each nail while they're still wet. Finish with a matte topcoat, making sure not to paint over the gems (you don't want to dim their sparkle).
In Kindergarten we got gold stars for good behavior; in adulthood, we get them for stellar simple nail looks. Case in point: This gold star negative space nail design. With a clear base and one or two gold confetti stars per nail, this manicure manages to be simple yet glam.