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30 Simple Nail Designs Anyone Can Do From Home—Pro Skills Not Required

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Nail art is art, and that’s a fact. We’ve all seen incredibly complicated nail designs that should literally be on display at the Louvre. But as impressive as intricate nail art can be, simple nail designs can be just as difficult to master—especially the ones that deceptively look more complicated than the process it takes to create them. Any scroll through Instagram will show you the art of minimalist nail designs. Accounts like Betina Goldstein, m.o.n.a.j and minmalistmanicure are some of our favorites, and their designs always have us asking ourselves, “How did they do that?” They’re true artists, with tiny canvases as their preferred space to work with.

Don’t feel too intimidated by all the fresh nail art you see on the ’gram though—with just a few tools (and practice), you’ll be able to master being a pro at manicures yourself. Celebrity and editorial nail artist Elizabeth Garcia says you can use tools you have laying around your house to create powerful nail art from home. “Use toothpicks or bobby pins to create dots, flowers or the on-trend marble design,” says Garcia. These simple nail art designs are at your fingertips (literally). Ahead, find 30 of our favorite simple design ideas easy enough to do at home on your own, plus product recommendations to help you get there.

About the Expert:

Elizabeth Garcia is a celebrity nail artist and owner of The Nail Room and Nail Pills.

1. Dainty Daisies

Eternalize spring-time vibes on your nails with this super-sweet daisy-inspired design that looks a lot more difficult to achieve than it actually is. After you paint your base color, all you have to do is make dots using a toothpick or nail dotter pen to create the flowers. To get the quintessential white daisy look, use ESSIE’s Marshmallow.

2. Chrome Specks

Did somebody say Fashion Week? These are totally model-worthy nails that we could see walking down the runway. They’re chic yet edgy, and with the chrome trend reigning supreme in the nail world, this is a perfect polka dot design for beginners.

3. Neon Accent

What could be more simple and easy to achieve than this? Truly, you could create this with any color, not just neon. Choose a clear base or something iridescent before you swatch your colored stripe.

4. Matisse Lines

Inspired by the carefree lines of Henri Mattise paintings, these nude nails are sure to earn a ton of compliments. They’re a simplistic design that will always remain on trend.

5. Itty Bitty Metallic Tips

Invisible French manicures, or micro French manicures, are a nail trend we can’t get enough of. They’re super cute and easy to achieve with the help of a nail striping brush. They look best on nails that are a bit more grown out as they require length to show off that dainty stripe. We love how this blends multiple metallics for a jewel-toned look.

6. Checkered and Chic

Another spin on the micro french tip. These tips are made with tiny dots of black and white that nod to a black-and-white checkered print.

7. Mini Hearts

Heart-themed nails are not just reserved for Valentine’s Day. These itty bitty heart tips can look great any time of the year, especially if you get creative with the colors you choose. Make them all the same or stick to a family of colors.

8. Just a Couple Dots

It’s true—sometimes less is more. We love the way this nail artist used contrasting colors orange and blue to create a simplistic yet artful design. Who knew dots could make such a statement?

9. Single Squiggle

Love the way the Matisse nails look? Why not try a single squiggle? We love the slightly neon green color used, almost like a glow-in-the-dark green.

10. Reverse French

What if you put a tip on the bottom of your nail? That’s exactly what this design is, and we’re calling it a reverse French mani. We think we’ll try it with a different color, or even multiple for a gradient!

11. Spring Flowers

Adding floral to your fingertips has never been easier. All you need is a dotting tool, which can easily be found at any craft store. When you’re ready to paint, it helps to put a little bit of your desired nail color on a piece of tin foil with the brush, versus dipping the tool into the whole bottle (things can get messy that way, and might lead you to oversaturate the design). You only need the slightest amount of polish.

12. Milky Halos

Just a little halo will do. Choose a nearly translucent color for your “nail halos,” as we like to call them. The results will look like natural, fresh, and healthy nails. People will be begging for your nail care routine!

13. Micro Colored Tip

Instead of a micro french with a white tip, why not try a color? Pastels and bold colors work best for this, and they add the slightest pop for spring nails. Bonus: You won’t have to worry about matching your outfit to your nails, since this is such a simplistic design (aka it goes with everything!).

14. Blue Teardrops

These nails feel Mediterranean inspired and perfect for a vacation in Greece. But you don’t need to be on vacay to rock them—wear them stateside whenever you have the travel bug.

15. Glitter Flecks

A simple nail design we often forget about is grabbing our age-old (and timeless!) glitter polish top coat to add just a little bit of something.

16. Rhinestone Twinkles

If you’re not confident in your twinkle painting abilities (we love how it looks just like the emoji), grab some nail decals from DECO MIAMI to help you nail the look.

17. Gold Accents

A manicure that feels like jewelry. Add a touch of gold in this reverse French manicure style for an instantly elevated look perfect for a night out.

18. Multicolored French

Forget classic French tips—we’ve completely reinvented French nails. Choose two contrasting colors for a fun, vibrant tip.

19. Fresh Oranges

Could these little fruit designs be any cuter? It’s the perfect summer mani that only requires some fine detailing tools. But don’t be deceived—this is actually a super easy DIY!

20. Floral Outline

This particular look features a gel polish. It’s a bit more intricate of a design, but bring this photo as inspo to your next nail appointment and your nail artist will know exactly how to achieve what you want. Of course, if you’re up to the task, you can also do it yourself. It might just take a little extra time to create all those cute florals.

21. Evil Eyes

Another example of a dotted design. Create a little evil eye with just three nail polish colors: a white, a light blue, and a darker blue or navy for the middle.

22. Pastel Yin & Yang

Yin-yang nails are still having a moment. We love these because they feature two colors without being so on the nose with circles to make it a complete yin and yang. Freehand a line up the center using the lighter color first. Then paint the other side with the darker color and touch up any edges. 

23. Butterfly Vibes

This look is completely made with stickers and looks absolutely perfect. Pro tip: Go over them with a clear top coat to seal the edges. You can also get these from DECO MIAMI.

24. Latte Stripes

Coffee-inspired nails are everywhere. Want to try some mocha colors? Take the trend for a spin with these tiny coffee-colored stripes.

25. Line Work

Just a little abstract line here and another there. These might be the most simplistic nails of all, yet they beg for compliments! All you need is a striping brush. Don’t be afraid to practice on paper before putting brush to nail—we know you’ll get the hang of it.

26. Chrome & Pastel

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Could these colors be more perfect together? Whoever picked these has a real eye. Blend a chrome polish with your favorite two colors, painting only half to leave a little clear nail peeking out.

27. Aura Nails

Aura nails can be quite complex, and sometimes you need A+ blending skills. But these ones keep it simple while still making an impact. Just keep a makeup wedge handy nearby for blending if needed.

28. Classic Chevrons

Chevrons are a cute retro-esque look that never goes out of style. All you need is a polish or two and nail-friendly tape to create the sleek lines.

29. Gradient Nails

There are many different interpretations of gradient nails, like the rad effect that’s made by painting several lines on the edge of a foundation sponge in different polish colors and “stamping” it onto your nail. Then there’s this easy version, where you paint each nail in a similar hue to the next, creating a gradient appearance.

30. Half and Half

One of the easiest nail designs you can do that packs a punch is a half-and-half look. A surprising color combination like orange and fuchsia make it even more special. Paint one side of your nail with LAW BEAUTY ESSENTIALS Fuchsia Tips and the other with LAW BEAUTY ESSENTIALS Fire Island Sunrise, and you’ll have a simple (yet striking) design that will have people asking for the name of your nail artist (aka you!).

Looking for even more of the latest beauty trends and tips? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own IPSY beauty subscription. Already an IPSY member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

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About the author
Olivia Cefalu
Olivia Cefalu
Olivia is a freelance beauty writer. With experience in influencer marketing at Tata Harper Skincare and editorial at Very Good Light, she loves covering Gen Z beauty, wellness, and nail trends. Read her work on Very Good Light and Well + Good.
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Article Last Updated June 5, 2023 12:00 AM