Boring nails have been the common go-to for far too long. Finally, nail art is back! 

The only thing more fun than checking out cute nail art online or complimenting a friend’s manicure is getting a cool nail design for yourself. If you’ve ever been the recipient of a memo that says a mani has to be understated or monochromatic to be classy, it’s time to throw that playbook away and let your creativity fly on your nails. Why shouldn’t your nails offer you another way to express yourself? 

The world of nail art captures everything from simple nail designs to funkier looks inspired by holidays and characters. You can go as wild or restrained as you’d like—and for most styles, you can choose to leave the manicure to the professionals or do it yourself. 

Keep reading for all of the nail art inspiration you could ever need! 

Seasonal Nail Art

When it’s time to usher in new vibes and weather conditions, paint your nails with a seasonal vibe. You’re probably already accustomed to revamping your wardrobe according to the season—why not revamp your nails as well? 

Summer Nail Art

watermelon nails
Source: Instagram
Get your mouth watering for summer with this sweet mani.

Cuteness alert! When it comes to the produce aisle, nothing says summertime quite like watermelon. Represent the sunny days of summer with this precious watermelon design! Even a beginner nail artist can pull this one off by starting with a pale pink, then painting in the details near the tip of each nail with a narrow brush and a black, green, white, and darker pink paint. 

orange and pink nail designs
Source: Instagram
Go a more abstract route for summer with a design like this.

Summer nail art doesn’t have to be as literal as watermelons to be effective. A colorful, fresh take on a classic French manicure is an unexpected approach that will have all of your friends begging for their own summertime manis. 

Spring Nail Art

flower nails
Source: Instagram
Everything’s coming up pretty with this spring nail design. 

You know spring is around the corner when flowers begin to bloom, and your nails can reflect that! Florals—like these sweet little daisies on a neutral background—make perfect spring nail designs. With practice and some precise tools, you can even achieve a look like this on your own. 

pastel nails
Source: Instagram
Say goodbye to the rain clouds, and hello to rainbows! 

After months and months of winter, spotting a rainbow can go a long way to put a spring back in your step. You can bring rainbows everywhere you go—in the spring and all year ’round—with your nails. This easy nail art gives you an opportunity to use every shade of nail polish in your collection. 

Winter Nail Art

winter nails
Source: Instagram
Let it snow with this pretty mani.

If you really want your nails to represent the winter season, a snowflake manicure is pretty much a no-brainer. Choose a lighter or darker blue as a base coat to get the look you’re hoping for, then add details with white polish. An experienced nail tech should be able to send you out the door with impressively intricate snowflake designs. 

winter nails
Source: Instagram
Even the ice queen will envy these wintry nails. 

For a more subtle winter design, go for something icy and glittery. Mix up the shades of blue and add in some pops of white for glamorous hands that you’ll hate to hide in winter gloves. 

Holiday Nail Art

Putting together the perfect outfits and accessories is a fun way to get into the festivities for any holiday celebration. Take your look to the next level—there’s an ideal manicure for every occasion!

Christmas Nail Art

candy cane nails
Source: Instagram
A candy cane mani like this one is chock full of yummy detail. 

There are plenty of iconic images associated with the Christmas season—and candy canes are surely at the top of that list. Your Christmas nail designs can incorporate the candy cane look as much as you’d like, whether you’d prefer a simple red and white stripe or something a little more elaborate like this detailed pattern.

green nails
Source: Instagram
There’s no need to be green with envy when you’re rocking this nail design. 

A green manicure can make a big impact during the holiday season, especially when you add in details like a matte finish or glittery tips. With your nails this festive, you’ll be ready to deck the halls. 

Halloween Nail Art

halloween cat and ghost nail art
Boo! It’s time for Halloween nail design! 

With ghosts and black cats on your hands, you can welcome the spookiest season of them all with open arms (and hopefully the perfect costume!). Alternate these iconic Halloween nail designs from one nail to the next or repeat one of them on one hand and the next on the other hand. 

halloween nail art
Source: Instagram
Orange and black nails will make a seasonal splash come October.

Trick or treat! There’s some super cute Halloween nail art at the door. Mix up your mani with orange, black, white, ghosts, and pumpkins for a cheeky look that won’t scare anyone away. 

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Valentine’s Day Nail Art

pink nail art
Source: Instagram
This take on a French manicure is fantastic for February.

Since pink and red are already popular manicure shades, the options for Valentine’s Day nail art are practically endless. You can start with the basics by requesting a pink twist on the French manicure next time you get your nails done to prepare for the February festivities. 

heart nail art
Source: Instagram
Conversation hearts can say it all. 

Take your pink and red Valentine’s Day manicure to the next level with teeny tiny conversation hearts on each nail. Whether you love Valentine’s Day or love to hate it, you can communicate all of your thoughts and feelings about the holiday with Valentine’s Day designs like this one. 

St. Patrick’s Day Nail Art

st patricks nails art
Source: Instagram
You can’t have enough green details on St. Paddy’s Day.

Rock every major symbol of the famous Irish holiday with St. Patrick’s Day nail art! Shamrocks, green polka dots, gold glitter, and a leprechaun’s belt buckle combine for an unforgettable mani. 

st patricks nail art
Source: Instagram
A flawless manicure is at the end of this rainbow.

Green isn’t the only color in the St. Paddy’s Day palette. Remember: you can include pops of the rainbow in your St. Patrick’s Day designs too. 

Easter Nail Art

easter egg nail art
Source: Instagram
Easter nail designs can be as colorful and unique as Easter eggs.

You don’t hold back when you’re decorating Easter eggs—and you shouldn’t hold back when you’re doing your nails for the holiday either. Easter nail designs can be as detailed and different as you’d like! Each finger can represent its own style of Easter egg.

orange nail art
Source: Instagram
Easter colors make beautiful manicures.

Easter egg nails not quite your thing? No problem! Easter nail art can also be inspired by the pretty colors of the season—in any design you’d like.

Special Designs 

Sometimes you need a manicure for more than just a particular season or holiday. Instead, you need it to represent a special occasion, style, or theme. 

Disney Nail Art 

disney castle nail art
Dreams—and dream manicures—really do come true.

Disney stories and movies are overflowing with beautiful, whimsical imagery that can inspire swoon-worthy nails. Disney nail art like this will make you feel like you’re living in your own fairy tale. 

mickey nail art
Everyone’s favorite movie mouse can look right at home on your nails.

You can’t talk about Disney nail designs without shouting out to the original Disney character himself! Choose any nail color as the backdrop for your manicure, and then let Mickey Mouse’s ears pop into the corner of each nail. 

Wedding Nail Art

sparkle nail art
Source: Instagram
Say goodbye to beige bridal manicures.

A bride should have whatever she wants on her special day—and her wedding nail art is no exception. This manicure features a mix of sparkle, white polish, and a nod to the bride’s one true love.

pink and white nail art
Source: Instagram
Check out this unique twist on a bridal manicure.

Brides with a love of all things vintage are bound to find themselves drawn to this lacy, romantic look! 

Abstract Nail Art

pink paint swipe nail art
Source: Instagram
This pink nail design will bring a smile to your face.

If pink is your favorite color, your nail technician should be able to mirror this abstract nail art design pretty closely, but you can substitute any other color you’d like. 

swirly color pop nail art
Source: Instagram
Nail designs can be as funky as you can imagine.

Abstract designs don’t have to be soft and pastel. You can also use swirls of black and pops of primary colors. You can even practice shapes like this on your own, without the help of a professional. 

Vintage Nail Art

flower nail art
Source: Instagram
This floral design looks like vintage fabric.

Florals make for a great starting point for vintage nail art. With the right color palette, your manicure can be reminiscent of fabrics and fashion from days gone by.  

red dot nails
Source: Instagram
Pop art and cartoons make for fantastic manicure inspo. 

Vintage nail designs don’t have to be soft and sweet. They can also have the impact of old-school art and cartoons! This kind of manicure can be great practice for DIY nail design.

Modern Nail Art

abstract face nail art
Source: Instagram
Use your nails as petite canvases for modern art.

There are many ways to make your nails feel modern, and taking cues from modern art is one of them! This manicure celebrates Pablo Picasso, but you can choose any artist you’d like.

gold and orange nail art
Source: Instagram
Use whatever color you like best for this kind of modern nail design.

Modern nail design is all about cool shapes and pops of color and texture. 

Easy Nail Art

You’ve scrolled your way through many beautiful, complex nail designs at this point, but nail design doesn’t have to be so complicated! Easy nail art can make just as much of an impact, and since you can probably do it yourself, it will be a little less impactful on your wallet.  

Simple Nail Art

blue dots nail art
Source: Instagram
Sometimes, less really can be more.

Start your DIY nail journey with a neutral base coat and a single dot of a bright color on each nail. Pro tip: Use a teeny-tiny nail brush, or even a toothpick!

pink and magenta nail art
Source: Instagram
Boom! You won’t be able to stop looking at a bright manicure like this one.

You can also practice your easy nail art skills with a two-tone mani. Let one shade of polish dry before applying the next for the neatest finish possible. 

Cute Nail Art

pastel dot nail art
Source: Instagram
This nail design is cuteness overload.

A sprinkle of confetti dots at the edge of a few nails is basically the epitome of cuteness. Let one layer of dots dry before you put on the next to prevent smudging. 

pastel french tips
Source: Instagram
Mix and match colors with this look.

A multi-colored French manicure is also pretty darn cute—and easy to DIY!

Make It Easy!

Beginner nail artists can streamline almost any of the designs described above into a more basic version. Here are a few examples to get your creative wheels turning.

candy cane stripe nail art
Source: Instagram
Christmastime is here with this basic peppermint mani.

Not sure that you’re up to the task of painting little candy canes on your nails? Paint red and white stripes instead for a similar festive effect.

pumpkin nail art
Source: Instagram
Halloween nails don’t have to be scary. 

Work your way up to more complicated Halloween nail designs by starting with more simple pumpkins on each nail. 

Next Steps 

Are you ready to get started with some awesome nail art? You’re definitely not lacking inspiration! 

Pick up some polish or take a trip to your nail salon of choice and let your imagination run wild with nail designs. There really are no rules. 

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Written by:

Alli Hoff Kosik