If you have short nails like me, you know the options of fun nail art can be not as easy. Not everyone is cut out for long nails or maybe you just love short nails over long nails!
From flowers to color blocking to abstract art, there’s so many different nail designs for short nails.
Whether you want to attempt some beautiful DIY nail art at home or you need inspiration for your next salon visit, here’s some fun designs to try!
Many of the nails below are created at home using Olive & June nails. Use this Olive and June link and the code jenb20 for 20% off your order of any of their systems!
53 Short Nail Designs
Paisley + Sparrow is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This post may include affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you shop using the links below at no additional cost to you.
1. Pink and Gold
A little color block on your nails goes a long way! I love the diagonal line and also how not all of the nails are the same. The flip on the ring finger gives it a funky vibe.
Try any color combo that suits your fancy! This could be done on both short or long nails.
Colors from Olive and June: pink sands, OJBH, HD & obvi
2. Pink and Purple Color Block
Color block manicures are always fun and on trend. They’re also easy to do and customize! I love this pop of pink against the red on these nails using Olive & June’s polish.
Colors from Olive and June: TLG and Wild Orchid
3. Watercolor Color Block
A step up from an ombre with each nail a different color is an ombre style on every single nail. This is a bit of a more advanced mani but don’t let it stress you out.
All you need to do is paint half o your nail with one color and the half with the other color, slightly overlapping. Repeat on all of your nails!
Colors from Olive and June: pinky to thumb: Angelfish, Yes Please, Cockatoo, Fierce and Loving, Pink Sands, Grateful and Kind
4. Blue Ombre
Manis don’t always have to be hard and complicated with nail art brushes or intricate details! A blue ombre mani with each nail a different color is not only on trend and chic but also super easy!
All you need is the colors! Simply paint each nail a different shade of blue!
Colors from Olive and June: Boost, Honest and True, Angelfish
5. Ombre Pink
Another ombre nail design but this time in pink! Paint each nail a different shade of pink going from dark to light.
Colors from Olive and June: Pink Sands, JM, Grateful & Kind, Hibiscus and Wild Orchid.
6. Rust Ombre Nails
As you can see, ombre nails can be done in so many different color combos. This reddish orange mani is perfect for fall.
7. Shades of Green Abstract
These nails are such a fun mix of color block and abstract art! Start with color block, let it fully dry and then keep adding! Start with just one accent nail to practice before covering all of your nails in this design.
Nail polish colors from Olive and June: WKF ,Energize, and KMC
8. Mini Lines
Lines are always a fun way to add some style to your nails! One trick for keeping this cohesive is to have one of the lines be the same color as your solid color nails. The color combination is endless!
Colors used Olive and June: Besties, Angelfish, glow and JLR
9. Pink Flowers
The most subtle splash of flowers on a neutral base is the perfect way to try out flower art! Start with a neutral base coat, add dots for the center flowers and smaller dots around the center dot to complete your flowers.
10. Flower Art
Try out a flower mani with a style like this! Don’t get too hung up on the perfection of each petal, rather just get the flower idea across. Choose one solid color for the center and three coordinating colors for the flowers. Add a touch of green for some leaves and you’ve got yourself the perfect floral mani!
Nail polish colors from Olive and June: Base: CV (red), BEB (sheer white)
Art: CV, Grape Soda, Wild Orchid, Besties, WKF, E&M
11. Flower Rows
image via emjpolished
As you get comfortable doing flowers, try adding more! A cluster of flowers at the base of your nail and at the tip of your nail creates a beautiful manicure.
Colors from Olive and June: Jam, Please, Strawberry Scone and HD
12. Vintage Flowers
One of the most advanced manis on this list is this one! These beautiful watercolor inspired vintage nails are perfect for afternoon tea or a day at a flower garden!
13. Polka Dot French Tip
A French tip with a twist! Rather than perfecting that straight line, try dots! A collection of tiny dots gives you such a unique look.
14. XOXO Nails
Celebrating Valentine’s day? Or your anniversary? Show your love with this super simple OX nail art! You could easily customize this with your initials or your significant other’s initials on the one nail!
Colors from Olive and June: HD for the white
15. Polka Dot
A super easy way to dip your toes into the diy manicure world is polka dots. Start with a solid color base. Once that dries, pick one nail to add dots too. The beauty of this is if you mess up you only have one nail to redo!
Pick 3 coordinating colors and a dotting tool and get after it! The key is to let this fully dry before you put on your top coat.
Colors from Olive and June: HD for the white and ES (red), JM (darker pink) and Pink Sands (lighter pink).
16. Line of Polka Dots
Another adorable manicure for short nails is a combination of lines and dots! This simple manicure is made with one solid neutral color as the base, one thin line down the middle with dots on both sides of it. It will give the illusion of a vine of flowers!
Colors used from Olive and June: The Queen Take Her Tea With Milk, Jam, Please, You’re Invited, Cucumber Sandwich
April showers bring May flowers so why not embrace the rainstorms with these fun cloud nails? Paint your nails a solid color and let the dry completely. Add the clouds and the rain and you’re set!
Base: lunar by Olive Ave Polish, Clouds: HD by Olive and June, Cloud accent: every cloud has a sparkle lining by Huella Beauty (use code paisleysparrow for a discount!), Rain: exclamation point by Olive and June
18. Purple Cloud
Love clouds but want a more feminine vibe? Swap the blue with a pink or purple! You could do any color base with white clouds! You could even do just one nail as an accent with the clouds as you practice this look.
Colors from Olive and June: Jam Please and Hd
19. Cow Print
Whether you’re heading to Yellowstone Ranch or just love cows, this is such a fun idea for short nails! Having two accent nails with cow print is a simple and subtle way to have some fun with your mani!
20. Black and White Cow
Love the cow print above but want a classic look on your nails? Here’s a classic black and white cow look that you can do all over your nail!
It’s the perfect look for your short nails for chic-fil-la day when you’re dressing like a cow or just to show your love for this gentle giant creatures.
21. Scallop Nails
A stunning simple manicure for short nails or long nails alike is this scallop style! Start practicing on one nail and keep adding from there!
Colors from Olive and June: Base: JG Nart: SCL + JG
22. Green Double Stripes
Two little lines gives your nails quite the punch! Paint all five nails one solid color. Next using a small nail brush add one line in a contrasting color from the side of your nail to the middle of the tip of your nail. Then follow it with another color!
This could be done on short or long nails!
Wearing: Natural Connection, All Oar Nothing, and Row With the Flow by @essie
23. Purple Marble Nails
Once you master color blocking, try marble! This beautiful marble look is such a stunning look for short nails.
Colors from Olive and June: Velvet Pouf, HD, Exclamation point
24. Straight Line Accent
Simple yet classic, that’s what this manicure says! A solid color base with a sleek simple line from one side to the other, uniform across all your nails. This manicure has so much opportunity of different styles. Try a white base with gold line for a summer brunch style or rust orange base with red stripe for fall!
Colors: Arigato from Tokyo, Suzi & the Arctic Fox from OPI
25. French Tip with Silver Glitter
The perfect french tip twist! This beautiful manicure could be worn for your wedding, shower or even New Year’s Eve! This is made with just 2 colors.
Colors from Olive and June: two coats CCT plus one coat BEB with Exclamation Point
26. French Tips
Another twist on a French Tip is this one! Give it a rainbow vibe with colorful tips over a neutral base.
Colors from Olive and June: Your’e A 10, Lime Fizz, Cherry Crush, Mega Babe Blue, Wild Orchid
27. Polka Dot French Tip
Once you feel confident with polka dots and french tips and flowers, take them to the next level and combine them! Start by painting your nails a neutral color. Next paint your french tip with a different color. Add polka dots with a 3 color that pops. Around a few of the dots add fun abstract flowers.
Colors from Olive and June: The Queen Takes Her Tea With Milk, You’re Invited, HD
28. Heart Accent
I love this look because it makes the little red heart pop! For this mani I use
Colors from Olive and June: HD (white) and ES (red).
29. Glitter Accent
Glitter is always a fun and easy way to add some fun to your mani! This is another easy mani to do. Simply paint your thumb, ring and pinky fingers a solid color. Next paint your last 2 a neutral color. Add a glitter polish towards the bottom.
Colors from Olive and June: BEB, HJ, LHG
30. Squiggle Line
Abstract squiggles are an easy way to try your hand at nail art. There’s no rules when it comes to abstract squiggles. Just start in one corner and end in the other corner with any sort of squiggle in the middle. Get a coordinating color and follow the original line!
Colors from Olive and June: ES (red) and JM (darker pink).
31. Daisy Nails
Once you’ve mastered color block nails, take it up a notch with gold AND flowers! Start with adding a thin gold line in the middle of your color block (and no, it doesn’t have to be a straight line!). Once that’s dry add your flowers!
Colors from Olive and June: Base: 2 coats BEB (white sheer)
Art, thumb to pinky: hot strawberry, grape soda, blueberry smash, energize, orange wedge, HD (white), E&M (black), OJPAS (gold shimmer)
If you’re an artist or love doing short nails nail art, you’ve got to try this! You’ll definitely need a small artist brush to create these abstract faces but if you can master it you’ll have the most stunning nails around!
33. Eye Nails Art
Eye accents on nails will always be on trend! These fun eye accents aren’t made with polish – they’re stickers!
All you need to do is paint a base color on all of your nails. Once it’s totally dry apply your sticker on one nail with a layer of top coat on top and there you have it – stunning nail art designs!
Stickers from Olive and June
Another sticker art that’s perfect for summer is this one! Whether you put these on a neutral baes like this one or on a colorful base, you can create a variety of different manis!
Stickers from Olive and June
35. Bird Nails
As you start out trying nail art yourself, it’s ok to start simple! These birds look stunning but are also simple to make! Start with one bird and once you conquer that add more!
36. Flower Crown
As you get a handle on flowers, try different things! This fun flower crown is a unique and beautiful way to add a crown on your nails.
Keep it cohesive by painting the petals of the flowers and the solid color nails the same color! This is another great idea for short or long nails!
All colors by Terra Beauty Bars : No. 30 Pitanga Red, No. 9 Creamy Sheer Beige, No. 28 Super Gold Foil Shimmer, No. 31 Morning Dew
37. Purple Silver
Color block nail art is beautiful all the time and the color combos are absolutely endless. This beautiful matte black with the pop of a shimmery silver are a stunning combo.
Try a glitter with a matte, a neon with a neutral or any two colors you love!
Prim and Purple + Every Cloud Has a Sparkle Lining by Huella Beauty (use code paisleysparrow for a discount!)
38. Colorblock with Leaves
Once you’ve mastered color blocking, take it up a notch! This beautiful pink and gold manicure is a fun twist on a leaf mani. Rather than green leaves (or orange and red leaves for fall) on each nail try gold! It pops beautifully against the pink.
39. Pink Zebra
Yes zebras are black and white but that doesn’t mean you need to paint it that way! I love the unique look of this pink and gold zebra print manicure that would look great on short nails or long nails alike.
This is definitely a more advanced manicure with the detail on each nail but a little practice will go a long way!
40. Black Polka Dot
Matt black with shiny dots on each nail is a super unique look that’s also easy to replicate! This is another manicure that could be done with any color combo – even mixing up two colors!
41. Abstract Art Nails
The nice thing about abstract nail art is there’s no rules! Mix larger splotches with smaller dots to see what you like the best! Keep it consistent across all your nails for a cohesive look.
42. Confetti Nails
Polka dot confetti nails? Yes, please! Whether it’s a birthday paired with funfetti cake or just fun summer nails, this confetti nail art can be customized to whatever function you’re going to or whatever new color polish you want to use.
Try out different size dots for a unique look!
43. Sparkle Star Nails
An amazing way to make short nails ready for star gazing or New Years is this cosmic star nail. @karanailed it made this by using 2 coats of HJ and 2 coats of Cosmic from Olive and June.
Olive and June : HJ and Cosmic
44. Star Decal Nails
Don’t feel ready for painting art on your short nails? Use stickers! These nails can be done on any different nail color base, not just red! Red is perfect for holidays such as the fourth of July while a black base with white stars is great for New Years!
All you need to do is paint your nails one color. Then add star stickers to one nail (or a few nails). Seal it in with your top coat and that’s it!
Stickers from Olive and June
This gorgeous manicure from @karanailedit is incredibly unique way to paint your nails! A solid base on each nail along with three coordinating colors is used for this mani. This is a great option for short nails since it’s just outlining your natural nail!
Colors from Olive and June
46. Rainbow Ombre Nails
Bring a little rainbow to your day through your nails! This unique ombre style manicure is a super unique, fun style by Kara Nailed It.
Set out all the colors you want to use before you start painting to determine how many nails need overlapping colors and which colors to use for each nail. Then go from there! You can also leave one nail a solid color like she did here!
47. Watermelon Nail Art
If you’re looking for a fun mani for shorter nails for a summer picnic, try out this cute watermelon one! This is a great manicure for beginners since 3 of your nails are solid colors and 2 nails more artistic.
Colors from Olive and June: CV, HGC, EM, Besties
48. Curved Color Block
Another fun way to do a color block style is this one! A curved line gives the standard straight line in a color block pattern a completely different look! These short nails can be done in any number of color combinations or just one uniform color!
Colors from Olive and June: Thumb to pinky: point dume, JLR, KMC, BP and TT. (Perfectionist CCT for my negative space)
49. Four Leave Clover
Whether you need a St Patricks Day nail or just love to show off your Irish heritage, this fun four leaf clover is a great idea for short nails! Do this design on one nail or a few nails, the options are endless.
50. Fruit Art
The perfect summer mani for short nails! The neon colors along with fruit is so cheeky and fun for summer!
Paint a different fruit on each nail in coordinating colors to get these fun mani!
Colors from Bio Seaweed Gel
51. Abstract Black and White Nails
You can never go wrong with a classic black and white manicure! Start with a neutral nail color. Add a simple triangle accent and top it off with black dots!
52. Press On French Tip
Fun fact – you don’t actually HAVE to paint your nails to get beautiful short nails! These french nails are created with press ons! I’ve used Olive and June press on nails and love them!
52. Fall Polka Dot Nails
Switch things up with the number of nails you have as solid and as accent! Paint your pointer finger and pinky finger solid with the other three accented with polka dots. These darker hues are great for fall but can easily be lightened up for summer!
53. Q-Tip Nails
One of the easiest ways to create a nail design on short nails is with a q-tip! Paint your nails a solid base. Once it’s dry use a q tip to add a dot at the base of your nail!
As you can see there’s so many fun nail designs you can create on short nails! If you decide to do these at home, be sure to get a manicure system! They make a world of difference in the perfect at home mani!
Don’t forget, use this Olive and June link and the code jenb20 for 20% off your order of any of their systems!
Looking for nail ideas? Try these:
- Nude Nail Designs
- Floral Nail Designs
- White Nail Designs
- French Tip Nail Ideas
- Manicures for Valentine’s Day
- Black Nail Designs
- Ombre Nail Ideas
- Blue Nail Designs
And try out one of these different nail shapes while you’re at it!