Many people associate nail art with long nails, but the truth is that even if you keep your nails short, you can still decorate them with simple, sophisticated designs that will give you all of the self-expression of a traditional manicure without the added
Below you’ll find a list of eleven catchy yet simple nail design ideas used to accentuate short nails. From monochromatic manicures to neon French manicures, there’s a design here for just about anyone. Read on to learn more about short nail designs that are eye-catching and easy to pull off.
Why We Need Short Nail Ideas!
Long nail manicures look great, but there’s a ton of reasons why you might opt to keep your nails clipped and manicured short instead. Here are just a few reasons you should consider going with a short nail design:
- Avoid breakage. If you deal with your nails breaking easily at longer lengths, manicuring your nails short will prevent the issue. And if you have a long manicure, nothing is worse than breaking off a single nail since it’s so noticeable.
- Ability to dress: Having long nails can make buckles, snaps, and zippers difficult to manage. Short nails are more practical if you have to change in and out of layered clothing a lot.
- Saved money: Short manicures are a lot easier to upkeep at home without having to pay for expensive salon manicures, and you’ll spend less on polish, too.
- Hygiene: If you do a lot of work with your hands, wearing long nails almost ensures that you’ll get a bunch of dirt and grime caught under them. For people who work with food or in medical settings, long nails are often forbidden by the dress code for this reason. With a short manicure, you can still wear cute nail designs without being unsanitary.
- No pokes and scratches. If you’re prone to accidentally poking yourself in the eye with your nails or scratching people when you hug them, wearing a shorter manicure can keep people from getting poked or scratched.
Short nail designs give you a lot of the same options as longer nails, with a lot less of the associated maintenance.
What Makes a Design Simple?
Going with a simple nail art design can make keeping your nails looking good a lot more simple, too. But when it comes to nail art, what makes a nail design simple? Here are some of the criteria you should look at when choosing a simple nail design:
- Limited colors: To keep a nail design simple, choose only one or two colors to use per nail. This helps reduce the amount of time you need to let your nails dry between layers and can keep the design looking unified.
- No nail accessories: Nail accessories like stick-on jewels and sequins look great for a dramatic night out, but they don’t really make for simple design. Instead, stick with flat designs that don’t add any additional texture.
- Do-it-yourself difficulty: One of the big advantages of simple nail designs is that these designs are easy to replicate at home rather than having them done in a nail salon. This can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of the year in salon fees.
The benefits of going with a simple nail design are twofold. One, it’ll be a lot easier for you to pull off this look even if you’re not an experienced home manicurist. Two, simple designs are often more aesthetically pleasing than complicated ones.
11 Catchy Yet Simple Nail Design Ideas for Short Nails
Want to wear a simple nail design but don’t know where to start? Below you’ll find eleven of the easiest nail designs you can get for short nails.
Pastel short nails are the perfect spring look, and are as colorful as a basket full of Easter eggs. While this nail design might require a little more money upfront than some others since it uses several different colors, the overall design is still simple because each nail is only limited to one shade. This design looks good with either a glossy or matte finish.
Normally nail art isn’t really simple, but adding a statement floral nail to a pretty pastel shade like periwinkle or lilac can add some visual interest to your short nail design without overpowering it. You can get nail decals in many different floral designs to match just about any preference. You can choose a decal design that blends into the background color or one that stands out.
One of the easiest ways to keep a short nail design simple is to limit the number of colors you use in your design. However, this doesn’t mean you’re stuck with just one shade. Use negative space and a glittery or metallic variation of the shade for accents to keep a monochromatic manicure from looking bland.
Dots and Stripes Manicure
Keeping your short nail design to just two colors may seem limiting, but you can still make this manicure interesting by mixing up different geometric patterns, such as dots and stripes. An advantage of this simple pattern is that you can freehand dots and stripes more easily in a DIY manicure than other patterns.
For one of the simplest nail designs you can pull off with short nails, nothing beats a classic black manicure. Whether you go matte or glossy, this is a look that gives both women and men a cool rocker vibe. With black nail polish, be sure to block your nails off with a cuticle barrier to keep any polish overflow from making your manicure look messy.
Colorful French Manicure
French manicures are a popular nail design for both short and long nails. This short nail design is a more colorful take on the classic French manicure, replacing the tip color and the base color with bright shades instead of the traditional white and nude. This manicure has a sophisticated look, but the bright colors add a touch of whimsy. You can use any combination you like.
Black and White Geometric Manicure
Simple geometric patterns are a good way to make nail design more interesting without necessarily making it more complicated to put on. Geometric designs also look just as good on short nails as they do long ones. Black and white are both neutrals, so this design can be worn with outfits of any color without clashing.
Multicolored Metallic Manicure
Most simple nail designs stick to one or two colors, but if you want a more colorful look, the best way to get it is to color each nail on your hand a different color. This metallic manicure combines gold, crimson, ocean blue, and forest green. Multicolored metallics are also a cool nail design to adapt to represent your favorite team colors or colors from an outfit you’re matching.
All-white nails are one of the simplest short nail designs you can wear, and a great thing about them is that they go with everything. While a black manicure makes for a dramatic night-time look, white nails are perfect for casual day-time looks or a fresh spring aesthetic. If plain white nails are too simple, consider adding a nail decal to your ring fingers for a focal point.
Another unique look that involves multiple colors is to do half of your manicure in one color and half of your manicure in the other. Making one color a solid neutral and adding a little gold foil or a decal to the other can help strengthen the contrast between them. Another way to add contrast is to make one half of your manicure glossy and the other half matte.
Accent Nail Manicure
Another simple short nail design that involves two nail colors is an accent nail design. In this design, all nails of the hand are painted the same color except one, usually the nail on the ring finger. This nail is painted in a contrasting color. An accent nail manicure looks especially good if you’re trying to show off a ring since an accent nail on your ring finger draws attention to it.
How to Get Started on Creating a Simple Nail Design
Once you’ve chosen a short simple nail design to go with, the next step is nailing the perfect manicure. Luckily, it doesn’t take a whole lot of experience to get a good manicure at home if you keep your design simple and follow a few easy tips. Here are a few ways to get the most out of your simple nail design
- Shape your nails. Any design on your nails is going to look uneven if the nails themselves aren’t filed down to the same shape. File your nails after exfoliating your hands and before you start to add polish. You can either file your nails to a short rounded shape or square them off, depending on your preference and the shape of your fingers.
- Push back your cuticles. You want to avoid trimming your cuticles if possible because this layer of skin helps protect the bed of your nails from bacteria and injury. However, pushing the cuticle back with a cuticle tool after rubbing cuticle oil on it can make your nails look more tidy and help your nail polish lay smooth.
- Use cuticle barrier. Cuticle barrier is a liquid latex that you can spread around the outside edge of your nails before painting them. This barrier prevents the nail polish from overflowing your nails and leaking onto your fingers, creating a messy and unprofessional look. Once your nails are dry, you can easily peel this latex barrier away.
Performing these three simple steps will make a noticeable difference in how neat and refined your short nail manicure turns out. By making sure to clean your nails up and prep them before you start adding polish, you can end up with a manicure just as nice as anything you’d pay for at the salon.
Find some inspiration for your next nails design with these 10 stylish nail designs for short nails!
Go Short for a Simple Nail Look That's Easy to Maintain
Short, simple nails might seem boring compared to fancier styles, but they don’t have to be. Just by using some easy designs and a few bold color choices, you’ll be able to put together a manicured look that is just as interesting and refined as any nail design for longer nails.
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