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20 Easy Nail Arts For Short Nails

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

People with short nails always think that nailart isn't for them. That they need to get longer nails via extensions for designs to look good on them. I digress though. The designs you see on Instagram may not look good on short nails as is, but with a little tweaking can work just as well, if not better. I personally find some designs and colours jarring on long nails, which suddenly look absolutely adorable and sophisticated on short nails. As someone who perpetually has short nails on their dominant hand, here are 20 nailart designs for all my shorties out there.

1. Evil Eye Nails

I personally find the evil eye and #hamsa symbols very aesthetically pleasing. It's the combinations of those brilliant blues that stand out. Whereas this design has a tendency to gear into the halloween territory on #long nails, on short nails, it looks absolutely chic. You can paint these freehand or get stickers and decals for the same online.

2. Vampy Nails

Glossy #dark nails are a big statement. They look very intimidating when on long nails, but on short nails, they look sophisticated. This nailart uses champagne gold as a base to break up the colour and make the deep wine colour pop. Just paint your nails in a light gold shade and swipe the #wine colour on the sides to get this simple but elegant design.

3. Neutral Chic Nails

These chic checkered nails make nails of any length look sophisticated. The combination of the different #nudes and the #matte effect is what really elevates this one.

4. Sakura Nails

I love #cherry blossom anything! There are tons of ways you can represent these beautiful blossoms. You can hand-paint them or use #decals which are easily available online.

5. Leopard Print Nails

#Leopard print nails can be a very sexy statement if done in bold colours on long claws, or can be absolutely cute if done in soft neutrals on short nails. The mix and match of the shades is what makes this manicure stand out. Detailed instructions to do this design can be found here.

6. Black Hearts

Long glossy #black nails are my personal pet peeve. They remind me of chikoo seeds (sapodilla seeds). Short black nails on the other hand look very smart and edgy. This nailart uses just one colour and some negative space to make magic. You can paint the hearts #freehand or make a stencil out of #scotch tape.

7. Kawaii Nails

Cute faces and animals are ageless. You can sport them, as fun as you like or as simple as you like. While #kawaii characters can work with long nails, there's just something about the proportions on short nails which make them even more adorable. The possibilities are endless with this design. You can hand-paint them if you have the skills, or simply buy decals easily available online.

8. Chevron Nails

If you ever thought you don't have enough real estate for #chevron (zig-zag) nailart, these nails prove otherwise. Chevrons are a classic that look good irrespective of the length of your nails and the permutations and combinations are endless. You can achieve the crisp lines by using nail tape or stencils.

9. Black Dots Galore

This nailart is so #minimalistic, yet so impactful! By sticking tiny black rhinestones/beads at the border of the nails, it creates a very chic pop comic-esque vibe. This will look fabulous for photoshoots. If you want something sturdier you can paint black dots instead and have a similar outcome.

10. Nude Beaded Nails

Nude matte nails are one of the most trendy and evergreen nailarts out there. The look clean and sophisticated. This iteration uses matte #nudes and whites with #gold and pearls to give a lux and fresh vibe. You can find the gold tapes and the #pearl accessories easily online.

11. Watermelon Nails

This nailart is a #summer staple. You will see different versions of it every year. This is one design that simply doesn't work on long nails. The use of #pastel colours and the square shape give this a very summery watermelon ice-cream vibe.

12. White Foliage Nails

This nailart is a neutral boho chic lover's dream. Simple #neutrals and white with leaves, that's it. Such a simple concept, yet so pretty. You can do the #leaves freehand, but I would suggest you either stamp them or use decals.

13. Grey Bedazzled Nails

This nailart proves that short nails can handle some heavy bedazzling. The combination of the dark greyish brown and the evil eye-esque placement of the #gems make it look absolutely stunning and exotic. Do try these if you want your nails to be a statement.

14. Yellow Rainbow Nails

This is simple design for all beginners who are just treading into the world of nailart. This nailart uses a deep matte #yellow with accents of #rainbow stripes to make a fun and punchy nailart.

15. French Tips

If you thought #French Tips are only for long nails with a free edge, here is a nailart to prove you wrong. You just need a thin white tip to make it classy. This nailart has #3D flowers, but you can go with plain tips for #everyday wear.

16. Black French Tips

If white french tips are not your thing and you want them to be more of a statement, why not go all out and do black french tips? Both these designs use #black borders to make a more flamboyant french tip.

17. Fruit Nails

Different from the watermelon nails mentioned above, this design uses tiny images of whole #fruits to give modern art or wallpaper vibes. You can do them on bare nails for negative space, like the peaches and make it look chic; or paint them over a coloured base for a more cute result.

18. Geometric Nails

Play with #shapes and lines and have a field day on your nails. This design as simple to do, is also very aesthetically pleasing. You can do these freehand with paint or sharpies!

19. White Nails

Just like black, long white #glossy nails do not sit well with me. It looks too massive and blank, but short #white nails look classy and chic. Keep them plain or top with decals for a more fun look.

20. Colour Block Nails

You might think, you don't have space for one colour and I am talking about multiple colours?! Colour #blocking actually gives the illusion of longer nails by using contrasting colours. Play with one to two colours and keep them #contrasting so that they can stand out on your tiny canvas. Use neutrals for a more elegant look, or use pops of #primary colours to invoke your inner Mondrian.

There you have it. 20 trendy nail arts that you can do even if your nails are short. Do give them a try if you have perpetually short nails or just suffered a nail break (see how to avoid that here). Check out the blog for more nail art inspiration and tips and hacks. Have fun painting your nails!

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