These Nail Art Designs Are Perfect for Short Nails (2024)

I swear, all of these options are way cute.

By Ama Kwarteng
These Nail Art Designs Are Perfect for Short Nails (1)

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Long nails might be trending rn—I feel like they’re all over IG—but I promise you that those claws aren’t worth all the trouble. Like, how does anyone get anything done with long-ass nails? I have so many questions: Can you type an email? How do you send a text? How do you take out your contacts? Seriously though, long nails are way too complicated for me. That’s why I keep mine short and neat. I feel like they get a bad rap for looking stubby or not being as cute as long nails, but trust me—it all depends on the type of nail art you swipe on those bbs.

In case you've had some trouble in the past picking out nail art and trends that work with your short nails, not against them, I decided to help you out. Ahead, I pulled together 23 of the coolest short nail ideas and designs for you to try out ASAP.

Want even more nail-art inspo? Yeah, join Cosmo Unlocked here.


This Mix-and-Match Mani for Short Nails

One major perk of choosing this mix-and-match design for your short nails? It's wayyy easier to DIY—you don't have to be perfect while swiping on the polish, because every nail has to look different anyways.

Recreate it with: OPI Nail Polish in Mexico City Move-mint


This Emerald Green Mani for Short Nails

This deep emerald polish is super simple while still keeping your short nails looking fresh and clean. To up the gloss factor, paint on a shiny top coat to finish off your look.

Recreate it with: Sally Hansen Mega Strength Top Coat


These Pink Swirls for Short Nails

This mani is everything—the pink colors paired with the swirls prove that short nails can pack a punch without any loud neon hues or over-the-top glitter shades.

Recreate it with: Duri Nail Polish in Poetic Blush

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This Green and Blue Design for Short Nails

Isn't this green and blue manicure so freakin' soothing? I swear, I feel so zen just looking at this color combo.

Recreate it with: Essie Nail Polish in Off Tropic


This Blue Polka Dot Mani for Short Nails

Keep it cute and fun by opting for this blue and white polka-dot mani the next time you step into a nail salon. P.S. This could def work for your Easter nail design too.

Recreate it with: Revlon Gel Envy in Sure Thing


This Yin-and-Yang Mani for Short Nails

Add a twist to the classic yin-and-yang manicure and copy this split-color design for a slighty-quirky-but-still-cool vibe on your short nails.

Recreate it with: OPI Nail Lacquer in I'm Sooo Swamped!

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These Pink French Tips for Short Nails

There are sooo many ways to rock a French manicure. If you're looking for a more classic option that also looks great on short nails, swipe on a nude base shade, then add a sliver of pink to the top of your nails for a subtle pop of color.

Recreate it with: Duri Nail Polish in Lilac Dream


This Multi-Hued Red Mani for Short Nails

With curved, geometric lines and bold red hues, this manicure will be a show-stopper on short nails. Seriously—it's guaranteed to turn heads.

Recreate it with: OPI Nail Polish in Como Se Llama?


This Leopard Print Manicure for Short Nails

Leopard print doesn't just have to be something you wear—you can rock these pretty spots on your short nails too. Use gold foil to create the spots, like nail artist Betina Goldstein does here, or a gold nail polish color.

Recreate it with: OPI Nail Lacquer in Glitzterland

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This Pink and White Mani for Short Nails

Y'all, how cute is this pink manicure? And I love how the white stars add a super fun element without overpowering the look (or your short nails).

Recreate it with: Essie Nail Polish in Cascade Cool


This Gold Minimalist Mani for Short Nails

If you want to wear a simplistic nail design on your short nails, these minimalist gold lines are the way to go. Gorgeous, right?

Recreate it with: Angelariel 24K Gold Top Coat


This Patterned Mani for Short Nails

Opt for nail art with shapes and patterns to give your manicure a more graphic look.

Recreate it with: Zoya Nail Polish in Raven

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This Yellow Marble Mani for Short Nails

Not only is the color of this yellow manicure a great option for short nails but the marble design is so fresh and unique, you'll have people doing double takes at your fingers.

Recreate it with: China Glaze Lacquer in Happy Go Lucky


This Mickey Mouse Mani for Short Nails

If Disney+ has renewed your love for your favorite childhood characters, may I suggest this adorable Mickey Mouse design as an option for your short nail mani?

Recreate it with: OPI Nail Polish in Alpine Snow White


This Pastel Mani for Short Nails

Why pick just one nail color when you can wear them all, right? This rainbow of pastel hues will look sooo damn dreamy on short nails.

Recreate it with: Essie Nail Polish in Saltwater Happy

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This Red, Geometric Mani for Short Nails

The combo of bright red nails with a cool geometric shape create an eye-catching manicure that you're going to want to repeat again and again.

Recreate it with: Revlon Nail Enamel in All On Red


This Flame Design for Short Nails

This mani def isn't for the faint of heart. But if you want to go all out, this flame nail art is an extra colorful and fun option for short nails.

Recreate it with: Essie Nail Polish in Aruba Blue


This White French Mani for Short Nails

If you think you need extra long nails to do a French manicure, think again. By using slim lines, you're able to create a modern French that looks so pretty on short nails.

Recreate it with: OPI Infinite Shine in Funny Bunny

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This Two-Toned Pink Mani for Short Nails

A subtle yet chic way to add some flair to your mani? Paint your nails in two shades of the same color, instead of opting for just one. It adds a cool dimension to a short nail look.

Recreate it with: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Polish in Pink Blink


This Tortoise Shell Mani for Short Nails

I'm bringing a screenshot of this mani the next time I go to the nail salon. It's a super-fun take on the tortoise shell nail design that's definitely going to be all over your feed in a few weeks.

Recreate it with: Cirque Colors Nail Polish in Bowery

These Nail Art Designs Are Perfect for Short Nails (22)

Ama Kwarteng

Ama Kwarteng was previously the associate beauty editor at Cosmopolitan.

These Nail Art Designs Are Perfect for Short Nails (2024)
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