A lot of nail design lists online are focused on holidays, seasons, and special occasions. That’s all well and good, but sometimes you just need an all-encompassing celebration of nail art that looks great 365 days a year.
Let’s run down a list of the 20 nail designs we love year-round and give you the inspiration you need to never run out of ideas.
1. Hip to be Square
Our natural nails have rounded edges and smooth features, which is why sharp 90-degree angles make for such a striking contrast when it comes to painting and acrylic shape.
We’re seeing everything from multicolored mini squares to big, bold blocks that take up the entire nail. Of course, square press-on nails like these are never a bad call!
2. Asymmetrical is in Style
Everyone tends to balance their nail art, whether it’s on the nail itself or from a zoomed-out angle looking at both hands straight on. Symmetry is just in our DNA!
However, more designers are bending the rules and making asymmetrical statements that are totally outside the box.
That could mean different color schemes on either hand or accent nails that don’t seem to stick to the script. Embrace your creative streak and break out of the symmetrical design rulebook.
3. Very Cherry Reds
Every nail polish collection needs at least a few go-to reds for those formal dinners and romantic nights out, but cherry reds are a more playful version of the classic color.
Lighter, brighter, and better suited for gel or acrylic manicures, we love how cherry red polish brings more fun and flirty vibe to the table.
Pick out a vibrant cherry red that matches your outfit, and try out some different finishes to see if it works with glitter or gloss.
4. Back to the Barnyard
Who expected cows to be so cool in 2020? We’re seeing cow-print nails all over the internet, for reasons we’re still trying to figure out.
As if this year wasn’t weird enough, nail artists everywhere are now getting requests to design these farm-inspired patterns.
Will we see chickens, goats, and piggy tails next? It’s not beyond the realm of possibility.
5. Matte Terrazzo Mania
We usually associate terrazzo with home decor and countertop patterns, but the beauty of nail art is that we draw inspiration from even the most mundane parts of daily life.
An aggregation of nail art inspo from Cosmopolitan highlighted matte terrazzo nails from a popular influencer, featuring organic, earth-toned shapes on a cream base coat.
Harness the terrazzo style to express your favorite mashup of colors or just use some simple whites and grays for a more minimalistic granite feel.
6. Seeing Stars
We haven’t yet figured out a bad time to decorate our nails with stars, and it’s unlikely we will. No matter your age, attitude, or artistic ability, star patterns are truly a perennial nail design.
The trend these days seems to be small, sparse stars appearing on random accent nails, but we are gung ho for a full astronomy display if you are willing to put in the work.
Grab a pack or two of “stars and moons” stickers the next time you’re browsing online, or whip out the mini paintbrushes to freestyle some designs from your imagination.
7. Ombré All Day
We’ve seen gradient designs take the world of hairstyling by storm, and now the same trend is making its mark in nail art as well. Ombré encompasses all gradient styles in which one color slowly and gently turns into another from the top to the bottom of the nail.
Common designs typically showcase similar colors, like orange and red, or blue and purple, but there are no real limitations on what color schemes you choose.
We love ombré nails with a nice glossy finish to highlight the subtle shift in colors.
8. Beautiful Butterflies
You don’t have to wait for springtime to wear butterfly-inspired nails. Use stickers, decals, or paint your pretty designs that you come up with on your own.
It may look difficult to replicate butterfly art, but it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it.
9. Glimmers of Gold
When it comes to nail art, it’s wise to not overdo it on the gold. It can come off a bit try-hard, especially if you wear a lot of jewelry on your fingers and wrists.
That’s why we take a more minimal approach to gold when designing nails, relying on subtle stripes and sparkles to add just a hint of golden color and sheen.
Make yourself appear more mysterious with esoteric designs. Just prepare to be asked a lot of questions about what those symbols mean!
Start with something simple like peace signs and yin-yangs, but upgrade to astrological signs and even secret occult symbols if you are feeling extra magical.
Since these designs are easy to replicate, you can paint them yourself without a ton of training or artistic experience. Practice on a set of blank press-on nails to play it safe.
11. Color Block Combos
Recreate some modern art classics with bold color blocks. Mix up squares, triangles, and a whole range of colors so you can look 60’s chic at your next artsy event.
You’d be surprised how well you can design your color block nails with just some simple shapes and color schemes.
12. Fabulous Florals
Flowers are never out of style, and you can take a super-realistic or cartoony approach to floral nail design at any time of year.
Ask your nail technician to create some custom bouquets on your fingernails or see what homespun flowery designs you can come up with on your own.
13. Silver Streaks
Nothing says “celebrate good times” like silver, especially for a more formal occasion like weddings and work events.
You can show off some shimmering silver designs without blinding anyone. Just use a little bit of glitter or foil and that’s all you need!
Even if it’s a casual night out, don’t shy away from the silver.
14. French Mani Remixes
There will never be a year when French manicures are out of style, but these classic designs go through plenty of changes and evolutions. Try to keep up!
This time around, we’re excited about bold, off-center curves, like the ones highlighted in an article from TrendSpotter.
Come up with your French mani variants or see what your nail tech has in mind.
15. Say Yes to Yellow
We can’t get enough of these luxurious yellow nail designs, whether they’re washed-out pastels or with a bright neon finish.
With yellow polish, you have a perfect opportunity to juxtapose a creative accent nail, just like the checkerboard stilettos in our new Ride or Die press-on set.
16. Awesome Abstract Art
Ever been to an art gallery and enjoyed all the weird squiggles and splatters of the moment? You can capture the same abstract attitude on your nails, with total creative control.
Go to a local museum for inspiration, or browse the web to see the latest and craziest designs.
17. Low-Key Camo
You don’t have to be an army brat to embrace camouflage patterns, which have become an unexpected pop art motif in recent years.
Now, we’re seeing camo on nails everywhere, and it’s not just the standard greens and browns. Follow the camo theme and use whatever colors you want to make it your own.
18. Clouds in the Sky
Even on the sunniest of days, a few clouds in the sky add some shade and joy to the scene. Do the same with your blue pastel nails to make some fun, fluffy cloud designs.
Anyone can paint clouds with just a bit of practice, so see what you can do with your mini paintbrush and some online inspiration.
19. Mini Jewel Accents
Big, in-your-face gemstones are not the move at the moment, so pick some little jewels that give your nails a more sophisticated accent.
This article from DIY Projects for Teens offers some crafty techniques if you want to step up your jewel game.
20. Same-Color Contrast
Two different shades of the same color on one nail can look awesome if you know how to match them. See how they look side-by-side and come up with some eye-popping contrast designs!
You can go 50-50 down the middle, or experiment with different ratios to showcase different shapes on each nail. This is a great technique for nail design beginners just learning the ropes.
It’s our mission to make sure you never run out of nail art inspiration, so stay tuned to our blog and social media pages to keep the fresh ideas flowing!