27 Chic and Simple Nail Designs for Short Nails

Short manicures are just as beautiful. Long nails get the most attention, but short ones deserve to be admired too. Even though your canvas is smaller, there are still many ways to create cool nail designs. We think that minimalist designs are stunning on short nails. Think classic French tips or simple accents like stripes, or subtle gems.

We have tons of inspiration for those who love sophisticated minimalist manicures. We’ve put together 27 minimalist short nail designs that you will definitely want to copy.

01of 26

The Right Stripes

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This short, dazzling manicure is easy to do. Paint a thin stripe of your favorite gold glitter nail polish down the center of each fingernail. Londontown’s Nail Polish in Britannia ($16) is our recommendation.

02of 26

A Star Is Born

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The minimal manicure is a barely-there, nude look. Adding golden stars to the nails gives a more edgy look.

03of 26

Go for the Gold

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The nude base makes the gold foil really pop. The foil can be placed in different places on each nail to keep the look fresh.

04of 26

Crystal Ball

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@swaknails / instagram

This jade-inspired manicure looks just like the real thing. The mani is elevated by adding gold details to the opalescent background.

05of 26

Peachy Keen

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This mani fits right in with the theme. Chrome peach nails are so glamorous and sleek.

06of 26

Blue Zone

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The negative space manicure is a great example of minimal design. It has a big impact. This look is also very DIY-friendly.

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French Connection

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A French manicure can be worn on short nails. A sparkly base adds a special touch to the classic French manicure.

08of 26

White out

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@iramshelton / instagram

This chunky white mani has a futuristic look. Negative space around the cuticle creates an even more interesting look.

09of 26

Red Lite

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@aliciatnails / instagram

This baby French manicure is the minimalist’s ideal. It is also a stunning take on a trend. Choose a baby-pink base with a thin ruby red French tip.

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Crystal method

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@aliciatnails / instagram

This simple manicure makes a big statement. You’ll need to apply a clear, glossy nail polish first. Add crystals in different sizes to your nails.

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Line Up

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@brownluxenails / instagram

What is another way to upgrade your French manicure? Add golden stripes to the middle of every French tip. The metallic lining adds a more glamorous feel to the traditional look.

12of 26

Half and Half

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This minimalist manicure is an amazing piece of work. The peach nails look is given a cool vibe by adding abstract designs.

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Star Bright

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@phoebesummernails / instagram

The nude base gives the look a minimalist touch. This stunning mani will be sure to get people talking.

14of 26

Rose Quartz

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@brownluxenails / instagram

Bring the beauty and power of rose quartz right to your fingertips. This short manicure is stunning, from the crystal detailing to gold foil cuticles.

15of 26

Accent Marks

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The addition of one accent nail to your minimalist manicure adds intrigue. The milky spirals add an interesting and intricate touch.

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Neutral Tones

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The nude, crisp manicure is versatile and chic. This look can be achieved with Zoya Nail polish ($12) Evan.

17of 26

Put it in Neutral

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Nude manicures can be very interesting. Take, for example, this creamy tan look. Create a cool manicure by adding abstract swirls to your index and middle fingers.

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On The Edge

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Outline your tips with gold to give a French manicure a luxurious twist. A hint of sparkle gives the milky nail polish an extra touch.

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Middle Ground

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You can elevate your short mani with a simple line. This manicure features white stripes that run from the middle to the ring finger.

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Gold Rush

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Gold foil can be used in many different ways. This gorgeous manicure features metallic flecks on each nail.

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Precious Gems

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Although nail gems are more suited to a bold look, they also work well for minimal looks. Silver gems on the top and bottom can be added to a sheer manicure.

22of 26

Snow Day

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The color white is always a good choice for minimal manicures. It’s also a color that can be worn in any season. This polish has sold out but OPI Nail Lacquer in Funny Bunny ($12) will give you the same look.

23of 26

Silky Smooth

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It’s impossible to go wrong with the simple look of oatmilk nails. Paintbox calls this look “silky, neutral nails” and we couldn’t agree more.

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I am Blushing

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You can still experiment with color when it comes to minimal manicures. You can do that with this blushed-aura nail look. This ultra-glossy nail manicure has an airbrushed pink centre that is stunning.

25of 26

Seeing Spots

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@swaknails / instagram

This frosty, ombre manicure is stunning. Simple black dots added along the cuticle give the soft look a bolder touch. You’ll need a black nail polish, a dotting instrument and some nail polish to recreate this cuticle nail design.

26of 26

Different Stripes

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The perfect color combination is gold and nude. Paintbox Press-On Nails in Space Age ($28) can give you this exact look.

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