25 Simple Nail Designs Anyone Can Master

simple manicure


There's nothing wrong with simple. In fact, simple and easy can be nice and relaxing—nail art included. Sometimes the coolest art isn't the kind with an elaborate decal or a mix of different bright colors. No, sometimes the coolest art that we love—and quite possibly need—is the quietest type. Think negative space, small dots, French tips, fresh colors, glitter accents, and more.

To help you plan for your next nail look, we searched high and low for the best simple nail art ideas. Ahead, you'll discover 25 manicure options that you'll be able to easily DIY from the comfort of your own couch. With the polish colors of your choice, base coat, topcoat, decorating tools, and this list of mani looks, you'll be a bonafide nail pro in no time.

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Solar Eclipse Nails

Jin Soon Choi calls this look "Solar Eclipse." Just like the moon covering the sun, you have one color covering the other over the course of five nails. 

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Starry Details

If you really want to dress up a nude nail in a subtle way, try sticking a star decal or two on one finger of each hand. 

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Gold Accents

We love these nails from Paintbox because of the pretty contrast between a matte and metallic nail. The triangle peeking out on the side is an interesting twist.

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Glitter Stripes

It doesn't get more simple than drawing a line down the middle of your nail. To elevate the look, choose a neutral color for your base and a fun finish like bright blue glitter for the line. 

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Edgy Swoops

If you want something a little edgier, curve the line. Have it start at the top of the nail instead of the bottom, and don't draw it out all the way. 

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Cool Blue

We're obsessed with deep blue metallics. Adding a big circle to the middle of each nail makes for a really cool geometric look. 

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Overlapping Circles

This is the bare minimum when it comes to simple nail art but it's in a cute, fun way. Leave your entire nail polish-free except for two circles overlapping each other on the side, top, or bottom of your nail. 

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Caramel Slices

Sometimes a head-turning nail look is as simple as small caramel slivers and black outlines. Consider this one of many ways to reimagine a classic French manicure. A cuticle half moon accent adds a touch of negative space between the two arcs.

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These simple dotted nails make us think about one of our favorite artists: Yayoi Kusama. The varying sizes of each dot creates extra interest in the manicure without making it any more difficult to recreate. Dip a toothpick in black polish to bring this museum-worthy mani to life.

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Half and Half

Why paint your full nail when you can create just as much of an impact with half? This burgundy nail art is super easy to recreate, too. Simply use tape to create a sharp stencil to paint against and gently peel it off once the polish dries. Cover your entire nail with topcoat and be on your merry way.

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Foil Flecks

For a head-turning nail look that doesn't require loads of time to create, check out this foil-flecked mani. Paint your nails with a chunky glitter polish like Smith & Cult Glass Souls Nail Polish, which comes in the High Gleam Glitter Set ($25). You'll also get a matching eyeshadow so you can create a monochromatic beauty look from head to fingertips.

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Tiny French Tips

This minimalist manicure comes together with a thin swipe of white along the edge of each nail. It's a modern way to approach a classic French tip and just as demure.

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Abstract Swipes

This baby blue look is a cinch to create. Simply paint three or four nails on each hand totally blue and swipe abstract dashes of color on the remaining accent nails. Seal everything with a topcoat et voilà!

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Baby Fawn

These baby fawn-inspired nails are as cute as they are easy to DIY. To create the look, paint a sheer wash of gold or caramel across a third of each nail and overlay it with abstract dashes for a wildly adorable end look. Don't forget to finish with topcoat to lock it all in.

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Dots on Dots

These stylish dot nails make us think of Easter and avocados. To create them, choose a nude polish and five colors. Paint each nail nude and then paint a different color dot on each nail, then finish with a nude dot on top of each color.

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Fashion Forward

These simple Chanel nails check multiple boxes. For one, they're minimalist. They also embrace the rainbow nail trend without painting your full nails. To create this look, dip a toothpick in the polish colors of your choice and steadily paint each curved detail.

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Superhero Stripes

These metallic gold and red striped nails have the wow factor of a high-shine finish and negative space. Start at the tip of your nail when crafting your stripes. The final look is equal parts Superwoman and perfectly-wrapped present.

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Glitz and Glam

These negative space half-moon nails are a great option any time of year, especially if a party is on the agenda. To DIY the look, use Butter London Glazen Peel-Off Glitter Lacquer ($12) in shades Gold Rush and Supernova.

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Camel and Gold

These camel-colored almond-shaped nails are giving us all the feels. They're simple, stylish, and undoubtedly chic. Best of all, they only require two colors to create. When creating the look, start a centimeter or so away from the cuticle and dot the arc of each color block with a metallic gold dollop of polish.

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Statement Sparkles

These nude nails are classic and eye-catching with silver and gold glitter taking them up a notch. Fortunately, they're easy to DIY. Start with a nude base and layer it with gold glitter on one hand and silver on the other.

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Caramel and Shades of Blue

Mix and match rich caramel against soothing blues for an easy and chic nail look.

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Ombré Hearts

Shine in a subtle way with a fading ombré design. Plus, the glitter hearts are really sweet. Use a sponge to pat on the fading color for an easy (and lovely) look.

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White Accent Dot

This design is oh-so-cool and easy to create. After painting a base coat of your favorite color—we like the chic black shown here—use a detail brush to add a white contrast dot. The best part? It doesn't have to look perfect, so get creative.

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Cherry Blossoms

Channel those spring-time feels with this delicate cherry blossom design. After painting a base coat, use a small brush to dot on different sized circles using neutral and pink shades to create the blooming flowers we all love.

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Inverted French Maincurre

Add a dash of color to a neutral base by brushing on a reverse French manicure-inspired design. Use a thin strip of tape to section off the color change, then use a brush to clean up any mistakes.

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