14 Simple Nail Designs for Any Occasion and Skill Level
The right manicure is a beautiful and creative accessory that can match any look and give you confidence when you walk into the room. While there are endless possibilities when it comes to performing at-home manicures or asking your favorite professional for a new look, don’t worry if you want to keep things simple and easy.
Even beginning nail artists can still create unique and versatile designs that fit many different styles and look great for every occasion. All you need are your favorite colors!
Nailboo has you covered no matter what kind of nail style you’re looking to achieve next. We believe that healthy and affordable manicures should be available to everyone, which is why we’re sharing our easy-to-use dip kits for a salon-quality manicure without the salon-quality cost.
Whether you’ve been painting your nails at home for years or you’re just getting started, we have the guides and information that will help you achieve nail looks you love that are perfect for any occasion or skill level.
Details That Make a Difference
There are many different ways to customize and style your next manicure, and understanding the different features and details can help you to get a brand new look you can’t wait to show off. Here are a few important details to consider when planning out and developing your next manicure.
Here at Nailboo, we’re all about the nail dip manicure. It’s incredibly easy to perform right at home and it will protect your nails for weeks at a time. You have several different options to consider, including traditional paint polish, gels, Shellac nails, and acrylics. Each requires a different skill level and tools, but they all have their own unique finished design.
Your nail shape is one of those easy-to-adjust details that can have a lasting look. Different styles have different benefits and purposes, but if you’re on the search for a nail shape that can be adjusted for unique occasions and needs, square, ovals, or round shapes might be good for you. If you know you’re attending a classy event, consider a ballerina or stiletto shape.
You don’t even need to paint your nails to get a classic manicure that delivers on every occasion. When you take proper care of your nails and nail beds, it keeps your hands and nails looking smooth, clean, and healthy, which is always in style. It’s a good idea to add proper nail care to your every manicure, whether you’re practicing with paint or not.
Simple Nail Designs for Any Occasion and Skill Level
Once you have a good idea of the different details that go into designing a manicure, you can begin creating a pattern or look all your own. Here are a few of our favorite designs at Nailboo that you can try out for any occasion and at every skill level. Give these unique styles a go and make them your own for the next big party or event.
1. Seasonal Colors
You can never go wrong with seasonal colors. It’s incredibly simple and easy to apply your favorite seasonal color palette. The look is classy and refined but still has a bit of playfulness, as well.
One of the best parts of utilizing a seasonal color palette is that you already know that your nails are going to match your outfit. Seasonal color manicures can be paired with other nail art elements, but they also make a great statement all on their own.
Pastels are always in style and they can also be very flattering to the hand and fingers since they have an elongating effect. While it may seem like pastels are a spring and summer exclusive, there are some amazing ways that you can incorporate pastels into your favorite fall and winter manicures.
For autumn nails, light oranges, yellows, and reds speak to the seasonal style but are still classy and professional. Winter is all about shades of blues and purples that will never steer you wrong.
Neutral colors have been a staple of fashion since the beginning of time, and it’s not hard to see why. Neutrals are the basis for creating outfits, trends, and styles. While there may be just a few shades of black, white, and gray, they’re never boring.
You can mix and match shades for a neutral design that you can claim as your own, or simply enjoy a classic neutral manicure in ombre or with an accent nail.
Not only is a neutral nail easy to achieve and classy for work, school, or date night, but you always know that it’s going to match your next outfit.
4. Jewel Tones
Jewel tones are traditionally used for winter manicures, but they’re high-fashion and always a good option for formal and informal events alike. Like neutrals, they can be adjusted, so you can wear them in the office, with the kids, or for your next night out on the town. Mix and match your favorite jewel tones or pick out your top green, purple, or red and enjoy a classic one-color manicure with ease.
5. Accent Nail
One of the best parts of the accent nail is that you can adjust and change it to any level of formality or professionalism as you see fit. Another reason we can’t help but fall in love with the accent nail is that it’s perfect for nail artists no matter what level of skill or experience you might have.
The classic accent nail is simply a nail in a different color or shade. Accent nails are often a glitter or metallic shade that really stands out, though you have full creative liberty to make your accent nail all your own.
Another way to approach accent nails is with designs and decor. Add hearts, stars, or geometric shapes to your accent nail that fit your color palette. The possibilities are endless, and this style is great for any type of occasion or skill level.
A good geometric nail will always stand out, but don’t worry if you’ve never tried geometric patterns and designs on your manicures before. Not only are geometric patterns easier than they might seem, but there are also many ways to practice and lead up to them so you don’t have to pull out the bottle of nail polish remover every time.
One of our favorite styles of geometric nails that anyone can try out at home is line work. You can perform line work on a single nail, as an accent style, or cut lines across the entire manicure in several contrasting colors for a stand-out modern design.
If you feel like you have a steady hand, especially with your non-dominant hand, go ahead and try to freestyle your lines on dried color polish. If you’re worried about getting the line work perfect, simply lay down nail art tape over your dried base color and paint over in your favorite contrasting shades.
When we think of nail tips, we usually think of French manicures first, but the possibilities go way beyond French tips to whatever styles and color combinations you can possibly imagine.
Tips aren’t just a subtle nod to bold colors and bright, exciting designs that are still safe and professional for the office and formal events. They’re also a great choice for beginners, since getting a tip line on your nails is easier than it might seem.
There are a few different ways to approach nail tips, depending on your skill level and what the next occasion might be. You can keep your nails a base neutral color or even skin tone if you want a really subtle look. For something bolder, consider a darker base color with a light tip.
Once the base coat has dried, paint a small amount of the tip color on foil or on one of your fingers, since it won’t be absorbed into the material. Skip paper and paper towels for that reason! Then, simply dip the edge of your nail into the new color, allow it to dry, and protect with a topcoat. If you’re worried about getting an even line, you can always use nail tape, as well.
8. Floral Art
Florals are fun for spring and summer but they also make a great all-year-round addition to formal and festive styles. With so many different floral manicure designs to pick from, there’s guaranteed to be a flower perfect for your level of skill and your next event.
Subtle flowers are a gorgeous addition to any manicure, or you can use flowers as an accent nail style for something truly unique. Practice your favorite looks and bring the garden with you everywhere you go.
Abstract nail designs are the perfect option for beginner nail artists because there’s no right or wrong way to apply them. One of the ways we love to get a gorgeous accent nail is to paint a neutral base coat and allow it to dry. Pick two or three colors you love and apply small blobs or splotches to the nails in wavy or moving designs. Once the color has dried, consider swirling a thin black or white line over the different abstract colors to tie them all together.
Of course, the beauty of abstract art is that it can look however you want it to look, so play around with different abstract nail art designs to find the final product that you like best.
10. Glitter Nails
When we think of glitter nails, we often think of young, girly manicures or bright pink princess styles. It’s hard not to love a good princess style, but if you’re looking for a manicure that matches several occasions and skill levels, then there’s a different approach you can take to ensure you still enjoy a little shimmer and shine.
To start, glitter is a great option for accent nails and tips if you don’t want to include too much in your manicure. You can also find very subtle glitter colors that allow you to enjoy the play of the light on your manicure, without worrying about what they’ll think at the office. Glitter nails don’t require much experience to get started, but they always deliver bold and unique designs that will give you loads of confidence.
Maybe you love the shine, but you’re just not in the mood for glitter nails. Metallic colors and designs are the perfect addition to your next manicure. They look great all on their own but they also mix and match well with different styles of nail art and manicures, like tips, accent nails, or even seasonal nail styles. One of our favorite additions to a good fall palette or jewel-tone manicure is a little dash of gold flake that really stands out.
Metallic is also a good match for abstract nails, but whether you’re looking to blend and combine it, use it in moderation, or create an all metallic manicure, it’s sure to get you compliments from everyone you meet. Metallics also pair well with a lot of different outfit styles.
If painting the nail tip is a classic manicure style, then painting the nail base is a whole new take on it. You can mix and match and decide to paint both the tips and the bases, but if you’re looking to add just a little bit of color or style to your manicure without it being too bold, then the nail base right against the cuticle is a great way to go. We recommend using nail tape to ensure you get smooth and even lines every time.
13. Decals and Stickers
Are you always wondering how people get illustrations of flowers or stars or hearts on their nails? Decals and stickers are the way to go—and perfect for beginners. You can find decals and stamps in all kinds of designs. Since they always go on smoothly and delicately, they can look professional and beautiful for any occasion.
Trying out different decals and stamps is a great way to expand and practice different types of manicures and styles as you find a new look that really works for you.
14. Chevrons and Diamonds
Chevrons and diamonds are another unique take on geometric patterns that are easy to begin trying out right at home, even if you don’t have a lot of experience. You can chevron your tips or add a stylish, overlapping diamond pattern in your favorite shades to an accent nail.
A harlequin pattern in shades of neutrals or with a single accent color can look really unique and high-class, but it’s easy to achieve with just a little bit of nail tape and a steady hand. You can also add tiny diamond designs at the base or tips of your nails in subtle color contrasts that elevate any palette or style.
No matter what style of manicure your next occasion calls for, there’s a great look you can begin trying out today. Perfecting a unique and stylish new manicure can be achieved with any level of skill or experience, and getting started with the materials and colors you already have at home is fun and easy. Try out accent nails, bold tips, a little dash of gold, or decals and designs in all your favorite shades to fit the season.
Nailboo is here to help you find the next great look and all the ones to follow. We make it easy to get salon-quality manicures right from the comfort of home with our beginner-friendly nail dip kits.
We’re also sharing all of our favorite guides and resources for achieving great manicures that fit the occasion—whatever that might be! When you’re ready to begin designing and painting a brand new look, or to expand your skill level from beginner nail artist upward, check out one of our great nail dip kits and begin exploring our growing library of nail art ideas.
Nail Health | U.S. National Library of Medicine — National Institute of Health
Your Fashion Instinct is Correct: Neutrals Are Big in 2021 | Cosmopolitan
How the French Manicure Made Its Comeback | New York Times
A Brief History of Abstract Art With Turner, Mondrian, and More | Tate Museum