Swap Out Your Classic Paint Job for These 5 Nail Art Ideas

by Ashley Tyler ; Updated September 28, 2017

A classic coat of nail polish is a lot like a white t-shirt and blue jeans: it will never go out of style. But just because the sheen of a high-gloss coat will always look great doesn't mean that it can eventually feel routine, too. Instead of sticking to a single color the next time you paint your nails, jazz up your hands with a bit of nail art. From easy geometric shapes to an out-of-this-world galaxy design, these five projects work for days when you want a subtle upgrade to nights when you want to go all out. Match these looks with an eye-catching jacket, brightly-printed shoes or a fun purse, and your turn with on-trend fingertips may just become a personal staple.

Two-Toned Nails to Rethink a Neutral Look

Neutral nails don't have to mean boring nails. This two-toned design uses nude and white polish to create an interesting finish that'll match all of the clothes in your closet. Paint on the nude base coat, and then use a small paintbrush or cotton swab to add the white dots to the bottom part of each nail. Your friends will never believe you did this yourself instead of splurging at the nail salon.

A Negative-Space Mani for a Clever Use of Color

If you prefer a pop of color on your nails but think you aren't skilled enough to paint on a design, this negative space look is the perfect solution. No steady hands required! Use small pieces of washi tape to section off a triangle at the bottom of each nail before painting like normal. Remove the tape before the polish dries and say hello to your new favorite mani!

Colorful Floral Nail Art for a Special Occasion

From a casual lunch with your friends to a garden wedding, there's no wrong occasion for romantic floral nails. But don't be intimidated by the colorful design. Since it's more of an abstract approach, the roses don't need to be perfect. Just take your time, and you'll end up with beautiful nail art that looks as gorgeous as a blossoming bouquet.

Galaxy Nails That'll Steal All of the Attention

Keep your outfit casual and go bold with your nails by painting on a stunning (but surprisingly easy) galaxy manicure. Start by brushing on a dark base coat, and then give it plenty of time to dry. After, use a piece of sponge to dab on a mixture of different colors for the galaxy pattern. Dots of white polish mimic stars to complete the intergalactic print.

Geometric Tips for Any Color Combination

Master this simple technique and you'll be able to create geometric nails in any color combination. Sticking to neutral shades can be the most forgiving option for beginners, but that doesn't mean you can't use bright polish, either. Since you'll be using strips of washi tape to section off your design, you don't have to worry about free-handing the triangle tips.

About the Author

Ashley Tyler is a South Florida-based freelance writer with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Nova Southeastern University. When she's not writing, she can be found chasing around her two year old son, cooking up a storm or tackling multiple DIY projects.