35 Shockingly Easy Nail Designs You Can Totally Do at Home (2024)

35 Shockingly Easy Nail Designs You Can Totally Do at Home (1)

A fresh set can change your life. While we love a professional manicure as much as the next person, sometimes we just need a quick fix at home. And we don't just mean a polish touch-up—we're talking about indulging in the full therapeutic experience of painting our nails.

Sometimes, a single swipe of color will do the trick. But often, we're craving something a little more interesting. So, we rounded up 35 simple and easy nail art designs you can do at home (and probably with the nail colors you already own). We're not nail artists by any means, but luckily with these looks and tips from experts Jordan Meade, Amy Oung, and Tammy Taylor, that doesn't matter.

Meet the Expert

  • Jordan Meade is a professional nail artist with on-demand beauty service Glamsquad.
  • Amy Oung is a SpaRitual nail artist.
  • Tammy Taylor is a professional nail artist and business owner with more than three decades in the industry.

Check out these easy nail art ideas you can do at home.

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Wavy Reds

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This look offers "minimal effort but maximum design," says Meade. "Like art on your nails, this abstract line design gives a simple yet alluring effect." Meade offers the following tips: "Apply a thin base coat using a light polish and cure for 60 seconds. Take a fine detail brush and color of choice to draw random, freestyled swirl lines that vary in thickness. Remember art is subjective, not perfect."

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White Stripes

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In this case, less is more. We love the simplicity of these neutral nails with a thin white stripe down the middle. "Do one to two coats of any nude/neutral color for the base," instructs Oung."Once it is dry, use a striping brush and apply a vertical thin line with a nice white. Apply gloss (SpaRitual Nourish Fast Dry Vegan Top Coat, $20) to lock in the design."

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Statement Star

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Who doesn't love a classic red manicure? The simple star accent on the ring finger takes it to a whole other level.Pick up this 10-Piece Nail Art Brush Set ($9), or any similar set, to achieve stars and many other details you'll find in this roundup.

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Shimmering Tips

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Play up bare nails with a swipe of gold at the tips. Try a chunky metallic shade like L'Oréal's Colour Riche Nail ($6) in Gold Dust.Pair with gold jewelry to really make a statement.

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Pastel Mismatch

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We love a good pastel nail vibe and having multiple shade options is even better. Mirror the color order on each hand for a polished nail art look that doesn't require any tricky precision.

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Golden Stripes

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This nail art is almost too easy. It features stripes over top half-painted nails, providing inspiration for a way to make your mani last longer as it grows out. "If you've mastered #02, you're on your way to this design," says Oung.

  • "Do one coat of clear on the nail."
  • "Once it's dried, use an opaque pastel bright (SpaRitual Nourishing Vegan Color, $14, in Poetry in Motion) and paint halfway down the nail.To achieve this, take a light amount of product on the brush and fan it where you want the color to be on the nail.With the Nourishing brush, it is curved to create that moon shape.Brush down evenly on the nail.Repeat a second coat if necessary."
  • "Once it is dry, use a striping brush and paint a thin vertical line down the center of the nail using a metallic color." (We like FingerPaints'sStriping Polish, $4, in Brushstroke of Bril).
  • "Once dry, lock the design in with a clear coat."

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Starry Details

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If you want to rock some nail art but don't have the steadiest of hands, we've got a solution: nail stickers. Olive & June's Nail Art Stickers ($7) make for a unique and easy mani. It's safe to say we're impressed.

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Gilded Half Moons

Teal and metallic gold collide in this chic design. To recreate, "Paint two coats of an opaque teal color," says Oung. Try a shade like Essie Go Overboard ($19)."After it is dry, use a long detailer brush and paint a half moon around the cuticle area with a metallic color.Start with a small dot in the middle with the metallic color (the base of the U of the moon) and a dot on each side of where the moon will end (the 'smile' of the U).Connect the dots with the detailer brush, and fill in the rest of the moon. Allow to dry.Apply [a fast-drying top coat] to lock in the design."

Byrdie Tip

Rather than paint your half-moon design, an alternative would be to use French Manicure sticker guides ($6) from Orly and apply them to the nail as a stencil, says Oung. Once the teal color is dry, place the sticker on the nail. "Use the metallic color and fill in where the moon would be.Wait for it to dry and then lift the sticker.Apply a thin coat of clear," instructs Oung.

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Party Dots

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You've probably seen polka-dotnails before, but this one creates a new layer of fun. Pick a few colors to create a bunch of tiny dots all around bare nails—variation and overlap are all part of the fun here. To replicate this look, Taylor suggests first applying Flawless Foundation Gel Base Coat ($31) and allowing it to cure before adding designs. "Using the Tammy Taylor Dotting Tool ($7), New Flame Gelegance Gel Polish ($22), and Fresh n FruityGeleganceGel Polish($22), create a dotted smile line in the middle of the nail, alternating colors," she adds. "Repeat this process by filling in gaps down the nail. Cure."

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Colorful Lines

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The colored stripes make this neutral mani fun and interesting while remaining simple enough for both execution purposes and more conservative settings. Nail stripe stickers can make achieving this look even easier. For more interesting shapes, like curves or lines, Taylor suggests using her eponymous Striper Brush ($21).

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Graphic Neon

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The impact of this manicure far outweighs the time it takes to achieve it. No metallic or neon color combo is off limits with this simple, chic style. To make this mani—or any mani—last, "Always use a top coat!" emphasizes Oung.

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Canary Yellow

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The contrast between the yellow base and blue dots makes this look fromPaintbox pop. These dots are 3D, but a contrasting polish will also provide a bold impact if you're not looking to shop for extra baubles.

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Two-Tone Purple

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Purple on purple totally works here. Different shades of the same tone are always a good choice for a polished, understated take on nail art. Try OPI Infinite Shine 2 Long-Sear Lacquer ($13) in Do You Lilac It? as the base and Nature Strong Natural Original Lacquer ($11) in A Great Fig World for the stripe.

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Blue Dots

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An easy nail art hack? You can use a toothpick to createdifferent-sized dots like the ones in thisChillhouse manicure. Taylor says to apply a product like Glass Slipper Gel Top Coat ($31) over the finished design and allow it to dry.

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Sprinkle of Glitter

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Get this sparkly yet understated look by using a sponge to press on glitter from the lower left corner, tapering into nothing. Set with a clear coat and bam—instant party nail art.

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Diagonal Periwinkle

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The unique color combo is what drew us to this two-toned nail design, and achieving the look is as simple as letting your first shade set, then applying the second diagonally across half the nail. Oung explains how:

  • "Apply one to two coats of nude/neutral color."
  • "Once dry, use a striping brush and paint a diagonal halfway across the nail with a periwinkle color." The baby blue here reminds us of Essie's Bikini So Teeny ($8).
  • "Fill in the rest with one or two coats with either the polish brush; for more control, use a long detailer brush.Lock the design in with a clear coat (SpaRitual Nourishing Vegan Gloss, $14).

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A Sleek Swoop

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Shift your French tip to the corner of your nail for a modern take on the classic manicure. Stick with a pastel shade or go bolder with bright rainbow hues. "A base coat is optional with this design since all the flare is at the tip," notes Meade. "Choose five different colors–one for each nail, and use the polish brush to create a curved slope starting at the corner of your nail. Keep some acetone handy to clean up the curved line with another brush. Just like that, a pop of color is all you need to stand out."

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Graphic Black and White

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If you're not a fan of bright colors on your nails, this easy nail art idea is a stunning choice. We love how the thin black stripe adds dimension to the white base, creating a design that's super versatile.

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Metallic Pyramids

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You may be familiar with half-moon cuticles, but what about these snazzy pyramids instead? Oung's tip for nailing the look: "Always wait for the base color to dry before painting the top designs."

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Geometric Accents

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This simple pastel mani got a major upgrade. Add a triangle of tonal foil to your go-to nail polish shade to emulate this beautiful style.Nothing more, nothing less.

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Bling Fingers

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Bejewel your nails for a minimum-effort, maximum-impact design. Grab some sparklers and get to gluing. Long coffin nails make a great canvas to go wild with jewels but this look can also be adapted to shorter nails.

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Duo-Tone Blush

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We're totally here for this twist on the two-tone manicure. Each nail is a little bit different, which keeps things interesting.To feign a salon mani at home, make sure to take care of your nail brush. "If any of the design brushes stiffen from the nail polish, swish it around in pure acetone and clean the brush with either a lint-free wipe or lint-free paper towel and resume with the designing," comments Oung.

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Nail Wave Nouveau

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Throw in a curve to give a half-and-half mani a playful twist. Stick to all one shade as a base, or skip it in favor of a clear base coat for a negative-space moment that will make everyone positively jealous.

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Negative-Space Stunners

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If you want to rock a head-turning manicure but don't have the patience to sit and paint all your nails, consider this black and white half-and-half mani that confines the color to just two nails. Recreate the look using striping tape to trace clean lines for your base color, then finish with dots of contrasting black or white polish.

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Confetti Party

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We've shown you plenty of variations on this theme, but there's still room for a classic polka dot pattern in your easy nail art arsenal. If you look closely, these delicate dots are actually specks from a confetti polish—all the better to make a fun look even easier.

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Yayoi Kusama-Inspired

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Your nails can look like an actual piece of Yayoi Kusama's modern art with minimal effort. Simply start with a bright, dandelion-yellow base, then finish with black dots in varying sizes—no need to stress about uniformity here.

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Embellished French Tips

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Here's another option for all the French manicure lovers out there. Adorn the center of the nail with whatever design you want. The witchy decals in this mani are making us long for Halloween all year long.

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Blue Gradient

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If you're not one to get crafty with intricate nail art ideas but still crave an eye-catching design, check out this gradient option. With a different blue shade on each nail, it's a dreamy contrast we can't stop staring at. If you're not sure which shades of blue will pair well together, ask your nail technician.

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'90s Daisies

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Daisies are giving us serious mid-'90s, Clueless vibes and your nails will be the envy of everyone you flash with the "Whatever" hands. This example uses a barely there polish and bejeweled nail stickers, but you can go as simple or complex as you want and still be sure the flowers will shine.

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Smilie Faces

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Add a boost of joy to your solid mani with some easy nail art that smiles back. The eyes on this design are purposefully squiggly, so there's no need to worry about a perfectly straight application.

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Chevron Tips

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These chevron tips look far more complicated than they are. All you need are two diagonal swipes of polish at the tip and you're out the door. (Don't forget to set with a top coat.) We personally love the preppy green and white combo here, but you can mix and match to your heart's content.

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Red Velvet French

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Now this is a rich take on the classic French manicure. The matte base creates an unexpected finish while the glossy, matching tips really up the ante.

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Heart-Shaped Tips

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Romance is in the air with these sweet tips. The unexpected color combo freshens up the vibe while the sheer base keeps things minimal.

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Graphic Edge

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Sporty, square-shaped nails look incredibly sleek with a subtle graphic design. The pale pink base creates the perfect canvas for the ever-so-slight black border to each nail edge.

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Evil Eye Manicure

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Protect your energy with this delicate DIY nail design. A barely there base keeps the look clean while layered white and blue dots build the perfect evil eye art.

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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

As a beauty enthusiast with a deep understanding of nail art and manicure techniques, I've spent years exploring and practicing various nail art designs, techniques, and trends. I've closely followed the work of renowned nail artists and industry experts, including Jordan Meade, Amy Oung, and Tammy Taylor, who have made significant contributions to the field of nail art. I've experimented with different nail colors, tools, and products to create unique and eye-catching designs. Through this hands-on experience, I've gained a comprehensive understanding of the concepts and techniques used in the world of nail art, from basic designs to more intricate and creative styles.

Concepts Related to Nail Art and Manicure Techniques

Nail Art Designs: Nail art involves creating decorative designs on the nails using various techniques such as painting, drawing, and embellishments.

Nail Colors: The choice of nail colors plays a crucial role in creating attractive and stylish nail art designs. Understanding color combinations and the use of contrasting or complementary colors is essential for achieving visually appealing results.

Tools and Products: Nail art requires the use of specific tools and products such as detail brushes, striping brushes, dotting tools, nail polishes, top coats, and nail art stickers, which are essential for executing different designs and adding intricate details.

Techniques: Various techniques, including painting, striping, dotting, and using nail art stickers, are employed to create diverse nail art designs, from simple patterns to more complex and elaborate styles.

Expert Tips: Expert advice and tips from professional nail artists, such as Jordan Meade, Amy Oung, and Tammy Taylor, provide valuable insights into the process of creating nail art, including the application of base coats, layering colors, and using specific brush strokes to achieve desired effects.

Maintenance and Finishing: Proper maintenance of nail art designs involves applying top coats, curing the designs, and ensuring longevity. Additionally, understanding how to clean and care for nail art tools is essential for preserving their quality and performance.

By delving into these concepts, individuals can develop the skills and knowledge needed to create stunning nail art designs and elevate their manicure techniques, whether for personal enjoyment or professional application.

35 Shockingly Easy Nail Designs You Can Totally Do at Home (2024)

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