53 Nail Designs for Short Nails

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

gold and pink nails
Image via @always.manicured

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

pink and purple lines
Image via paintedwithpaige

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

blue and pink watercolor nails
Image via paintedwithpaige

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

blue ombre nails
image via @nails.by.shni

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

pink ombre nails

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

red ombre nails
Image via hannah__ewing

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

green abstract nails
image via manimomentsofjoi

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

line rainbow
image via manimomentsofjoi

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

neutral flowers
Image via hannah__ewing

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

bright flower nail designs olive and june beb, cv
image via mani.mama.mini

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

row of flowers
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

vintage floral nails
image via manimomentsofjoi

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

polka dot french tip
image via manimomentsofjoi

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

ox valentines 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

*Find more Valentine’s nails here!

15. Polka Dot

polka dot valentines nails

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

dot of lines
image via mani.mama.mini

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

17. Raincloud

rain cloud nail art
image via paintbynaptime

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

purple clouds
Image via karanailedit

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

cow print nails
image via paintbynaptime

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!

Colors:
Brown: Row with the Flow from the Essie #swooninthelagoon collection
White: 2 coats HD, 1 coat BEB from  Olive and June

20. Black and White Cow

black and white cow nails
Image via karanailedit

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

scallop nails
image via paintbynaptime

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

green nail art
image via paintbynaptime

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

marble nails
image via paintbynaptime

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

pink nails with stripes
image via paintbynaptime

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

glitter french tips with olive and june beb
image via paintbynaptime

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

rainbow french tips
Image via paintedwithpaige

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

purple flower nails
image via mani.mama.mini

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

red heart valentines nails

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 nails
image via whatscourtsmani

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

squiggle line valentines nails

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

color block flowers
Image via mani.mama.mini

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)

32. Face

face nail art
Image via @danicures_ 

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 nail art
Image via @oliveandjune

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

34. Blooms

flower nail art
image via 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

bird nail designs
image via paintbynaptime

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!

Colors from Olive and June: LHG and BEB and Lunar by @oliveave_polish

36. Flower Crown

flower crown nails
image via paintbynaptime

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

purple and silver nails
image via paintbynaptime

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!

Colors:
Prim and Purple + Every Cloud Has a Sparkle Lining by Huella Beauty (use code paisleysparrow for a discount!)

38. Colorblock with Leaves

gold leaf nails
image via polish_half_full

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.

Products used:
 Olive and June: Wild Orchid; Rosy Tips, Uber Chic Beauty: Satin Brass
Hello Maniology: bam white, Smudge Proof Top Coat, Moyra: stamp plate 79- Green leaves

39. Pink Zebra

pink zebra nails
image via polish_half_full

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!

Products used:
Morgan Taylor: Make Me Blush Uber Chic Beauty: Satin Brass, Lady of Burgundy
Hello Maniology: smudge proof top coat, mxm 017
Sally Hansen: Big Matte Top Coat

40. Black Polka Dot

black polka dot nails
image via polish_half_full

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!

Products used:  Olive and June: E&M
Sally Hansen: Big Matte Top Coat

41. Abstract Art Nails

purple abstract nails
Image via @karanailedit

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

confetti nails
Image via karanailedit

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

navy nail designs
Image via karanailedit

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

44. Star Decal Nails

star nails
image via Olive & June

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

45. Outline

outline nail designs
Image via karanailedit

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

rainbow color block nails
Image via karanailedit

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

watermelon nails
image via @nails.by.shni

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

curved color block nails
image via sarah_gradone

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

four leaf clover nails
image via sarah_gradone

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

fruit nails
Image via @karanailedit

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

abstract 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

french tip press on nails

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!

Find my full review of Olive and June press on nails here!

52. Fall Polka Dot Nails

fall 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

polka dot 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!

Find more q-tip nail art details here!

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!

Want a full review of Olive and June nail polish? Head here!

About Jen

Jen is a mom of 3 who loves frozen cookie dough, plants and a generous pour of creamer in her coffee. Her biggest joy is helping others find joy in their life, style and home through tips, tutorials and encouragement. She also runs 2 additional blogs. Feel free to send Jen a message or join the fun on Instagram!

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