40 Simple Nail Designs That Have A Major Impact

If “less is more” is your vibe, you’re in the right place.

In the world of manicures, there are two types of people: The “more is more” girlies who want their nails to look like mini works of art, a la Megan Thee Stallion; and the minimalists who prefer to stick with simple designs, like Margot Robbie’s “mannequin manicures.”

If you happen to fall into the latter category—or if you’re simply looking to try something more understated in the months ahead—it’s worth noting that opting for “simple” manicures doesn’t have to mean committing to “old money” sheer pink. These days, there are countless dainty designs that will still fit your more classically chic aesthetic.

Some of the most on-trend mani motifs feature understated art — like itty bitty evil eyes, lovely little hearts, animal print details, and even tiny mushrooms — in a way that allows you to embrace a simple look without being boring. Even nostalgic French tips have gotten a modern upgrade, giving you tons of ways to play that don’t stray too far outside your comfort zone.

Need proof? Keep scrolling for some serious simple nail inspiration. As an added bonus: Nearly every look on this list is easy enough for even the most newly-minuted nail artist to DIY.

40 Simple Nail Art Ideas


Subtle Evil Eye Design

The symbol of the evil eye is said to ward off negative energy, making it the perfect subtle nail art to keep the bad vibes away.


Creamy Milk Bath Moment

Creamy, “milk bath” manicures are a fancy way of describing off-white nails with a semi-opaqueness that resembles milk, and A-listers like Kourtney Kardashian Barker and Selena Gomez are big-time fans.


Itty Bitty Golden Dots

Take your go-to sheer pink manicure to the next level (in a super subtle way) by adorning each nail with a single golden dot.


Simply Bejeweled Studs

Believe it or not, a rhinestone manicure can be rainbow-colored and simple all at the same time. Start with a pale pink base coat and bedazzle it with a few bright studs for a look that will make you want to blast “Bejeweled” on repeat until your next salon session.


Minimal Cow Print Tips

Cow print nail designs are typically statement-making and bold, but these black-and-white spotted French tips are surprisingly subtle.


Sunflower Yellow French Tips

For those craving a bit of color, this warm, sunflower-inspired shade of yellow polish is the perfect upgrade for micro French tips.


Monochrome Mod Flowers

Make a mod statement by painting graphic, black-and-white flowers on neutral nails. The Retro-inspired art is just as on trend today as it was in the ‘60s.


Just A Hint Of Glitter

If committing to a fully glitter-painted set of nails seems a bit too bold for your liking, use a bit of sparkling polish to outline just the sides of your nails.


Neon Nail Cuffs

Add a pop of minimalist neons with electric-colored nail cuffs layered onto neutral polish. Stick with a single show-stopping bright, or mix things up with a few of your favorite shades (really, you can’t go wrong!).


Dainty Floral Pattern

If coquette nail art is at the top of your must-try list, this delicate pink floral pattern is the perfect way for mani minimalists to test out the trend.


Chocolate Chrome Mani

Brown polish is *finally* getting its due as a neutral nail staple (move over, beige and ballet pink!), and it’s about time. Layer the shade under a chromatic topper to give it a glazed effect that will really stand out.


Split-Tone Micro Tips

Trade in the typical white micro French tips for a monochromatic, split-toned set that minimalist icon Kendall Jenner would totally approve of.


Deep Blue Squiggles

Whether you are a loyal salon goer or much prefer painting your nails in the comfort of your home, these deep blue squiggles are practically fool-proof to recreate. Just grab a dotting tool or a detailing brush and get to work.


A Single Barbie Pink Heart

Show off your still-thriving adoration for all things Barbie — while still staying true to your minimalist roots — with a single hot pink accent heart on your ring finger.


Ultra-Thin Pin Stripes

These super-thin, stark white pinstripes create some seriously cool texture in a way that feels understated and chic. Even better? They’ll help make even the shortest nails look longer.


Two-Toned Blue Frenchies

If you’re looking for a simple way to add some color into your favorite French manicure, try swapping out the usual pink-and-white combo for two tones of the same bright color. This cobalt blue is gorgeous, but you can try this look with whatever shades are speaking to you.


Metallic Lightning Bolts

Keep things tonally uniform — but still interesting — by adding some metallic accents on top of your favorite marshmallow polish. Try some lightning bolt art in celeb-beloved silver chrome for a little bit of edge.


Low-Key Zebra Print Tips

Zebras are the animal kingdom’s best-dressed minimalists, and their black-and-white coats are worth copying on your next set of French tips.


Colorful Skittle Nails

Skittle nails — AKA any manicure with a different color painted on each nail — are the simplest way to change up your look, and can be done in a shade of rainbow brights or any gorgeous neutral gradient of your choosing.


Ombré Glazed Donut Frenchies

If you, like Hailey Bieber, are obsessed with the look of a glazed donut manicure, switch things up with a faded ombré French design.


Sparkling French Outlines

These barely-there, “invisible” French nails were made for the #quietluxury era, and the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it line of glitter makes them feel non-boring and fun.


Meaningful Little Initial

Take a cue from stars (and nail art icons) like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez and paint a loved one’s initial on your nails.


Fiery Red Micro French Tips

Fiery red nail polish is one of the manicure world’s most statement-making shades (there’s a reason “red nail theory” is a thing, after all), but this micro French softens it up by using it sparingly on top of an otherwise naked nail.


Gilded Celestial Art

Whether you’re an outspoken Leo or a well-balanced Libra, these bold-lined celestial nail tattoos will allow any sign to show off their love of the zodiac on the tips of their fingers.


Butter Yellow Daisies

Accessorize your pastel yellow polish with some delicate daisy designs for a set that’s nothing but sunshine.


Subtle Jade Marbled Details

Green crystals are said to attract money and personal growth, which makes this marbeled jade mani a total power move.


Off-White Vanilla French Tips

In your soft girl era RN? Trade your typical bright white French tips for a creamy, vanilla-inspired color.


Just A Little Leopard Print

Leopard is technically a neutral, and this gorgeous design allows manicure minimalists to tap the animal print nail art trend that has the girlies *obsessed.*


Elegant Pearl Adornments

Lean into “mermaidcore” in the most subtle of ways with a pretty pearlescent polish and oceanic pearl adornments.


Chic Tortoiseshell Details

Tortoiseshell print nails are a new high-fashion favorite — just ask Sydney Sweeney, who recently co-signed the look.


Classy V-Tip French Mani

V-tip Frenchies — otherwise referred to as “tuxedo nails” — add a modern element to the classic old-money mani.


Strawberry Glazed Donut Nails

Let your manicure serve big “pretty in pink” vibes with a trendy strawberry-glazed donut set of tips that are simple yet stunning.


Geometric Shapes

Decorate your signature “mannequin manicure” with simplistic geometric shapes for eye-catching nail art that’s extremely easy to DIY.


Heart-Shaped Chocolate French Nails

Modern French tips are the gift that keeps on giving for manicure minimalists, and these chocolate-colored hearts take things to a whole new level of adorable.


Tiny Silver Chrome Stars

If you’re on the hunt for a basic mani that still has a little bit of a flair, adorn your fave neutral polish with barely-there shining stars.


Groovy Mushroom Design

The 1970s serve endless beauty inspiration, and lately, the collective adoration for the era has translated into an obsession with adorable mushroom motifs.


Vibrant Violet Angles

Adding a pop of color with a simple diagonal line is a great way to play with color without fully committing to a single bright shade all over your nails.


Peekaboo Lemon Slice

Hidden among these micro French tips is a tiny lemon slice design, which simply couldn’t be cuter.


Simple Checkered Print

If you’re looking to combine two colors in a design that doesn’t involve some sort of French tip, this checkerboard print is the way to do it.


Cool Girl Chromatic Ombré

No matter which color you happen to choose, these chromatic nails with a faded ombré effect are perfect for every occasion and personal aesthetic.