20 Simple and Cute Nail Designs to Try at Your Next Appointment

Virtually every nail polish brand offers a matte top coat to let you transform your favorite glossy colors. Check out these shine-free manis and choose the inspiration for your next trip to the salon.

Your biweekly nail appointment can be a self-care ritual that steadies you and reinvigorates your week. From the time you sit down in the chair at the salon or pull out your collection of nail polishes to DIY your favorite designs at home, the relaxation begins. Virtually nothing can interfere with these moments of pure bliss. That is unless you can’t think of what to get this time. That’s where our list of simple and cute nail designs comes in.

The best part about this inspo is that it can be used year-round and for practically any occasion. Whether you’re looking for a moody winter nail design, prefer the warm hues of fall nails, embrace the vivid colors of summer nails or are preparing for spring with tons of pastels, you can find several innovative ideas below.

We’ve got designs with adorable hearts that are great options for Valentine’s Day. There are also various renditions of a French manicure and neutral toned nails accentuated with glitter, gold, pearls or white that could work as wedding day nails. Whether you’re a gel mani girl, dip powder lover, or a tried and true acrylic nail devotee, there’s something here for you.

hands in sweater with knitted sleeves and with nude color manicure with gold glitter on pink tableCHLOE MILLINSON/ @CMNAILSX

Glitter Stars

Sparkle and shine with these glossy, glittery stars. If you’re new to drawing designs with paint, you’ll want to create small triangles and connect them. The best part is you don’t have to create full stars to get the idea across.

hands in sweater with knitted sleeves and with nude color manicure with gold glitter on pink tableVANITY PROJECTS/ @VANITY PROJECTS

Flame Tips

A fresh take on a French tip incorporates lively flames. Try out this design in white or mix it up with neon or primary colors.

hands in sweater with knitted sleeves and with nude color and pastel heartsJODIE RICHARDS/ @BEAUTYHAVEN_BYJODIE

Pastel Hearts

This sweet design may remind you of a popular Valentine’s Day candy. Take a break from your typical red and hot pink hearts and opt for this variation of pastel tones.

a hand with a manicure featuring green and gold tipsLAUREN O./ @NAILSBYLAURENO

Green and Gold Accents

Not quite a French tip, but these elegant gold and green accents on the tip of the nail make for an interesting negative space nail design.

a person's hand with painted nails with yellow half moonsMEGAN KELLY/ @GEL.BYMEGAN

Yellow Half Moons

Add a pop of color to an otherwise subtle manicure by filling in half moons at the base of your nail. Yellow is the star here, but feel free to explore other shades as well.

a hand with a ring on it and jeweled manicureSAMANTHA ROSE/ @SAMROSENAILS


If you ask us, these nails have the perfect amount of bling. The heart-shaped jewels at the center of the nail and golden starburst surrounding it are both eye-catching and easy to execute.

manicured nails@NAILEDBYLIV___

Blooming Flowers

Bold colors make this design a fun option but the blooming gel base is the true star. When you arrange five dots of your favorite color polish on top of the base watch it “bloom” on its own as the colored dots will slowly expand and disperse to create petals.


Gel Fruit

Little beads of nearly translucent gel hues are turned into the most adorable fruits with just a few flicks of green polish. Add them to a neutral base as seen here or paint them onto a bright color of your choice.

a hand with a variation of a french manicure@KXO.BEAUTY

Racing Stripes

Anyone who’s partial to a classic French tip will love this innovative variation. Instead of creating a full arch at the top of your nail, concentrate double white lines to the left of your nail for this sporty look.

hands with a manicureTHE NAIL ROOM & CO

White Lines

Understated doesn’t mean boring. In fact, these horizontal and vertical white lines add just the right level of interest to a fairly simple mani.

a hand with black and white nails@THELITTLENAILKITCHEN

Black and White

Classic black and white will always make your nails look chic and sophisticated. These abstract white bands placed over a black French tip accomplish just that.

a person's hand with painted fingernails@THATBITCHDOHERNAILS

Wavy Smiley Faces

With a few squiggles of your brush and strategically placed dots, you can achieve these animated smileys.

a close up of a hand with painted fingernails and glitter cuticlesHANNAH ANDREWS/ @CURE.NAIL.STUDIO

Glitter Cuffs

A little glitter goes a long way. This single line of glitter placed at the base of the nail makes for a fun and fresh design.

See more at @cure.nail.studio

manicure with shiny coating and lined with rhinestones pearl design with pink tintOLEJOHNY

Chrome and Pearls

Chrome topped with pearl accents is the way to go if you’re looking for an It-girl take on the Hailey Bieber “glazed donut nails” trend.

hands of a young woman the nails are covered with a light colored gel polish with a bright design manicure ideasYULIYA UFIMTSEVA

Blue Waves

Make a splash with this innovative design. Simply swirl together blue and white polish shades on a plate or palette and gently lay them onto a nude base for a crashing wave effect.

french manicure on the nailsmanicure gel nail polish spa and manicure concept female hands with french manicureBOGDAN KOVENKIN

Matte French

While French tips always achieve a classic look, that can be easily elevated with the introduction of a bright color and matte top coat.

female hands in a gray fluffy knitted sweater with trendy beautiful manicure pink nude nails with black small dots on a pink background with copy spaceMARIIA DEMCHENKO

Single Dot

Use a dotting tool to create a single dot at the base of each nail. Think of it as an uncomplicated way to add subtle embellishment to your go-to baby pink mani.

delicate camouflage coating with silver design hands in a sweater with pink gel polish and sequins stylish and shiny nail polish coatingOLEJOHNY

Ombre Glitter

Start with a bead of glitter polish and slowly dab it down the center of your nail to create an ombre effect. Use this technique over a bare nail or a nude base.

multicolored manicure close up young woman hands with pastel manicurebright multi colored design of manicureBOGDAN KOVENKIN

Tri-Color Tips

When you can’t choose just one color, pick three. Whether you decide on complementary hues, as shown here, or prefer vibrant contrasting colors, you can’t really go wrong.

manicured womans hands in trendy pink hoodie fashionable spring summer nail design beauty salon templateDARIIA CHERNENKO

Marble Nails

Swirling a few white lines into a light pink base makes for a classy marbled design.