Simple has always been in style, even as other fashion trends come and go, in clothes, in hairstyles, and now in nail styles as well. While trendier nail designs can be a lot of fun, the simpler, understated looks are all set to stand up to the test of time, and the woman who rocks these classic, elegant looks will always be in style.
50 New Takes on Elegant Nails
If you are looking for simple yet elegant nail ideas to increase your fashion sense, then one thing that some people neglect is to take care of your nails. Your nails say a lot about your personality. Depending on how your nails are cut people can determine if you work in a specific profession. If you work on putting together the absolute perfect outfit for a night out leaving your nails dull and unpainted can throw the entire ensemble off. Merely lathering your nails in a beautiful tone of lacquer will add to the look that you are attempting. Elegant nail ideas aren’t hard to come up with either.
People also use their nails as an individual way of expressing themselves. Different cultures have different looks that they try to achieve using their fingernails. The Frech love an elegant look that is feminine while the Japanese youth tends to lean toward adorning their nails with different types of accessories, crystals, and even noisemakers. The fun thing about your nails is you get to decide how you want to express yourself and it is so easy to achieve. There are countless ways to make them look functional but also elegant. The nails on this list are all clean, classy, and creative, just waiting for you to give them that last twist to make each style into a work of wearable art that’s completely your own! Keep reading on to see 50 fashionable but simple and elegant nail ideas.
1) Pretty And Pink With A Sparkly Twist
The first of our 30 nail designs is this set of nude pink nails with a sparkly accent nail to give it a little kick. The simplicity of the other nails is offset by the bright shimmer of the third nail, and the end result is every bit as cute as it is eye-catching!
2) Skip White French Tips And Add Some Sparkle
Forget the old-school French Manicure, these nails trade in plain white for a bit of shine! The nude, natural gloss of the nails is offset by the pop of sparkle at the tips, and what could have been just another “more of the same” style is given a modern twist by the brush of .
3) A Simple Well-maintained Manicure
Not all that glitters is gold, and not every nail has to be sparkly in order to be absolutely gorgeous. This elegant nail design features nude pink nails that have been polished to a shine, so that they look almost liquid against the skin, with a slight color fade to really capture everybody else’s attention.
4) Using A Solid As The Accent Color
Pretty much the exact opposite of a lot of the nail designs on this list, this reverse-accent nail art design is a good example of how nail polish ideas can be changed to suit each different nail addict! Cute easy nail designs like this one can easily be flipped to create a whole new look.
5) Stripes Are Very In Fashion Currently
For when you want gold nails that are still more quiet and understated, these striped gold nails give just enough of that classic metallic glint to be eye-catching, but not so much that they come across as overwhelming. The single stripe idea can also be applied to other nail polish ideas as an accent-color stripe.
6) Metallic Nails Replicate A Mirror Look
And on the other hand, so to speak, if you want bold, dazzling, designer nails, then these are the nails for you! A gold or silver nail design with a metallic gleam can be a look you can build your whole outfit around, with enough glint and glam to make anyone do a double take.
7) Using Pale Tones To Offset Some Glitter
Combining gold and pink sparkles on nude nails, these designer nails are all different colors, but they combine to make a set of pretty, shiny nails that don’t look disconnected or random at all. The glitter on the accent nail ties most of the colors together, making this easy nail design look intricate and detailed.
8) A Bright Matte Finish
The bright, robin’s egg blue color of these nails creates a springy, almost flower nail design that is rendered truly elegant by its sheer simplicity. A long nail design that isn’t so complicated that it can’t be completed quickly, this design draws from classic manicure types to create a finish that’s simultaneously sharp and sweet.
9) Neutral Nudes Compliment Any Outfit
Some nail ideas are gorgeous because they’re intricate and highly detailed. These nails are gorgeous because, well, they aren’t. If you’re tired of nail designs that seem like they only match one very specific outfit or look, these nice, neutral nudes have just enough shine to let them effortlessly match almost anything in your wardrobe.
10) Textured Nails Can Draw Attention
Nail designs don’t have to be flashy or dramatic in order to be beautiful. The pretty, knit design on these accent nails are a perfect match for the rich, dark colors of the other nails, so that the black nail design doesn’t overwhelm the viewer, and the soft, delicate pattern is still breathtaking in its reserve.
11) Metallic Stripes Add A Bit Of Glam
For different nail designs, metal highlights can be used to highlight the simplicity and shape of the nail or to draw the attention to the wearer’s hand. These nude, natural nails are set apart by the splash of light and reflection in the single, clean cut of the metallic stripe, enough to catch someone’s eye without being too loud.
12) Combining Both Matte And Metallic
For a lot of different nail designs, any combination of old styles and new flairs is going to be a winning combination. These matte and metallic nails, for example, combine an old-school French manicure with a modern, metallic twist in order to create a look that’s as every bit as new as it is familiar.
13) Using Metallic For A French Tip
Similar to the above example, these metallic French tips are another example of how classic nail ideas can be given a modern twist. The subtle pink sparkles of nude colored nails are picked up in the golden glint of the manicured tips, and just a few cute finger rings are enough to tie the whole look together perfectly.
14) Canter Tips With A Brassy Accent Nail
Asymmetry is always appealing, and nail designs like the one pictured here give a good reason as to why that is. The shine of the brassy accent nail is echoed in the slashes of metallic glitter paint, and the pale, pretty nude color of the underlying base coat is enough to set that golden gleam off to absolute perfection!
15) High Gloss Nudes Are Simply Gorgeous
For every flower nail design or super-flashy glitter nail design, there’s an absolute gem like this design—warm, quiet, and flattering with any shape of nail or cut of clothing. These nude nails are polished to an almost liquid sheen so that every move you make will be underscored by their flash of shimmering color.
16) Abstract Art On Your Fingernails
Whether your taste in art runs towards Impressionism, Surrealism, Cubism, Realism, or some completely different type of “ism”—no matter what your favorite style of art may be, this abstract black nail design is a guaranteed masterpiece. The geometric shapes and lines move the eye around, and the bold, blocky colors on the other nails provide a perfect frame.
17) Cute Spring Easter Colors
For a look that’s nearly nude, but still provides a bit of fun, springtime color, this long nail design features a soft lavender or lilac that’s perfect for nearly any pastel look, with just enough of a blue undertone to render it cool and reserved, but just enough red to brighten it up a little.
18) A Top Accent In A Brassy Tone
Instead of highlighting the tips of the nails, a simple, A-frame highlight at the nail bed can create a cute chevron or arrow pattern that still has the same effect—catching the eye and drawing it towards the clean, classy shape that long, well-trimmed nails have always seemed to have had a way of providing.
19) Nude Champagne And Sparkly Accents
For a splash of shimmering color that hints at casual, high-class decadence, try accenting more than just one nail with a light dusting of glitter that perfectly matches the nude champagne color of the underlying nail. Nail designs like this one may seem complicated, but it won’t take more than a few extra minutes to get that extra gleam.
20) Crystals On White Nails And Glitter
Like some of the other nail designs on this list, this nail art designs takes elements of glitter nails, sparkly nails, and shiny nails to create a look that’s totally unique! The glitter on two of the nails is reflected by the crystals on the other two, and the glossy finish keeps both designs feeling fresh.
21) Arrows Are Always In Current Fashion
White matte nails are always pretty and sweet-looking, but it’s the cute gold chevron on the accent nail that takes this nail design from classic to cute as can be! For the nail addict who doesn’t have the time for a full set of glitter nails, just a simple little accent can be enough to set your nails apart.
22) Gothic Colors With A Coffin Shape
“Gothic Colors” doesn’t always have to mean “black”. The nail color of these clean, simple nails is just dark enough to be dramatic, while still colorful enough not to be a total downer! If you like the darker styles of gothic fashion, but still like bold, rich colors, then these are the nails for you.
23) Mixing Mattes With High Gloss Tapered
Who says you can’t have it all? One of the best combinations of old and new that we’ve seen, this gold and silver nail design blends bold matte paint with a high gloss metallic finish, and the asymmetrical design takes the best of both metallic nails and matte nails alike to create a striking image.
24) A Single Nail Having The Metallic Stripe
Sometimes less can be more—and this is definitely one of those times. A single metallic stripe on an accent nail is all it takes to provide a reserved, understated highlight that takes these nude color nails up another step, creating an elegant nail design that won’t take hours of detailing, but still looks stunning.
25) An Ombre Confetti Glitter Is Stunning
Ombre may be a trend that really took off a few years ago, but this short nail design combines glitter, gold, and gloss to show why it’s a trend we’re still rocking in 2018! Nude color nails provide the perfect backdrop for the sparkly nails design, and the end result looks natural, relaxed, and elegant.
26) Crystals On Top Of A Nude With Glitter
Another awesome example of how the littlest details are enough to turn an old-fashioned idea into a bright, modern style, these cute easy nail designs look a lot more complicated than they actually are. A brush of metallic glitter and a crystal on each nail makes for a fun, flirty look that we just absolutely adore!
27) Beautifully Shaped Almond Style With Solid Blue
For a look that’s cool in every sense of the word, the nail color shown here gives a calm, collected look that’s offset by the unique finger rings and fun, fuzzy sweater. Proving that sometimes the simplest style is best, this long nail design is different enough for fun, but simple enough to be timeless.
28) Short And Well Kept With Intricate Design
The beautiful design on the accent nail here is an easy way to take a pretty set of nails and make them awesome in their simplicity. The muted colors of the other nails and design evocative of old lace and sugared swirls take what should be elements of the past and combine them to make one of the cutest styles of 2018!
29) Florals And Pinks Add A Sweet Flare
Floral designs have been popular on and off throughout history, and this is as good a reason as any to make them popular now! With an easy sheen on the four remaining fingernails, the beautiful floral design on the accent nail is as classic as it is creative.
30) Florals Aren’t For Grandmas Anymore
Forget everything about your grandma’s old wallpaper or any stuffy tablecloths that you may be picturing—this short nail design is simple, subtle, and oh-so-sweet, with enough brightness in the nails that aren’t florally patterned to take a design steeped in tradition and make it as modern any of the other manicure types listed here!
31) Gold Accents Highlight Shape of Nail
These pretty nude nails use the same idea as a previous entry and highlight the short shape of the nails by using just a hint of gold polish around the finger bed, in order to provide just a touch of glamour and glitter while still keeping the nails simple, understated, and easy to paint quickly.
32) Dusting Off the Accent Nails
For these gold, white, and pink nails, the dusting of gold on the pinky finger is picked up by the thin lines on the next two fingers, and complemented by the pale pink polish on the index finger. The contrasting shades of color and shine set off a perfect display of light, color, and sparkle!
33) Just a Touch of Shine
Like a lot of the other entries on this list, these nails are so close to being plain, ordinary nails, but with the slightest twist to kick it up a notch. Here, just the smallest hint of gold glitter around the beds of the two accent nails provide just enough sparkle to catch the light.
34) A Dash of Glittering Scales
If you love the idea of using glitter, but not the minuscule scale of the individual glitter particles, try these nails, with a glitter particle large enough to look almost like sequins, giving the single accent nail a scaled, almost mechanical beauty that contrasts with the smooth, quietly reserved pink of the four remaining nails.
35) Keeping It Cool, Smooth and Steady
On the other hand, if you don’t want any sort of glimmer or glitz on your fingers, but are confident in their shape and color to win the day, these smooth, oval-shaped nails are perfectly pretty in pink, with only a slight gradient to punch up the appearance and take it to another level.
36) A Tiny Taste of Textures
Instead of plain black and gold nails, these grey, gold, and glittery nails play around with different textures to create a stylish set of contrasts that works beautifully together, despite the different combination of colors and styles represented by the two accent nails and three remaining nails, which are smooth, neat matte kind of gray.
37) Over the Thin Blue Line
As with many of the nail designs on this list, these simple nude nails provide a great example of the way less can really be so much more. The neat blue glitter line down the middle of the accent nail provides just enough detail to make the whole set truly impossible for anyone to overlook!
38) Sugar and Ice Make Everything Nice
These nails don’t so much shine as they do gleam, looking like they’re still wet, almost, from the sheer amount of reflective glimmer on their surface–a smooth, glossy finish that is picked up by the small crystals of ice or sugar in the models hands and in her hair, perfect for a cold spring day.
39) If You’re the New Classic
With a touch of old-school glamour to turn up the drama, these black and gold nails use white and black matte paint, large particle glitter, clear crystals, and fine gold glitter to paint a show-stopping array of color, shine, and glitz that turns this relatively modern nail look into a truly classic design.
40) Like Fingerprints, No Two Are the Same
For another gorgeous long nail design, these black and gold and mauve nails forgo any sort of matte polish for a highly polished, elegant look, with just enough glitter on the ring and pinky finger to echo the shine of the single thumb ring and provide an understated touch of glamour to a simple style.
41) An Ombre Fade to Catch the Eye
Where some of the other nails on this list used the ombre style to highlight the same color across the nail, these gold and white nails fade from one color into another, so that the shift in colors almost appears to be a byproduct of the high gloss of the gold polish at the base.
42) For Tying It All Together
For when the colors you have are just similar enough to look completely different when contrasted to each other, the use of a single accent nail can turn the whole look into a carefully planned display. Here, the single gold glitter nail ties the subtle differences in shade into one absolutely stunning parade of pink!
43) Black, Black, Black and Blue
Are they black? Are they blue? Are they somewhere in between? With these short nails, the color doesn’t matter! It’s the dramatic contrast of the plain, bold color with the intricate design of the single ring on the middle finger that combines both black and navy blue into one perfect display of light and darkness.
44) Dramatic Accent Nails With Cracked Marble Pattern
For a nail design that’s so close and yet so far from being plain black and white, these nails take a sharp turn for the dramatic with the intricate detailing on the ring finger, with a veneer that evokes old, weathered marble, high ceilings, and highly polished floors, all held together by the metal band on the pinky finger.
45) Pretty and Pink as Spun Sugar
If there’s anything sweeter than sugar, these nails have got to be it. The touch of glitter on the accent nails, with a particle that’s just large enough to stand out and give the nails a fun taste of texture, along with the cute pink color of the other nails, puts the viewer in mind of all things sparkly and sugary sweet !
46) Metallic Glimmer Kicks Up the Drama
Here, what would otherwise be plain black nails are punched up with the sheen of white glitter that turns the whole look into something that’s effortlessly elegant, and still show-stopping with its flash of light against a bed of darkness. Neither too dark nor too ostentatious, this is a look that’s perfectly balanced between the two!
47) Clean, Crisp, and Effortlessly Elegant
Maybe everything you touch doesn’t literally turn to gold, but these nails will make sure that you’ve at least got gold at your fingertips, ready to take on anything life throws your way! The glimmering sheen of the gold glitter polish is a rich, opulent look that will make you and your nails the center of any conversation.
48) For a Real Sense of History
Another display of effortlessly evocative stone and marble weathering, these nails use a pretty pink color as the base for most of the nails in order to contrast the careful stone patterning. The slightly weathered look gives these nails a sense of time, or history, like the cool entrance to an old stone manor, or the marble patterning on a museum’s work of art.
49) Better Broken Lines Than Broken Nails
The broken, asymmetrical lines of these nails give this particular design a cool, geographic look that’s all the more eye-catching for its simplicity! Like the lines on a chalkboard, or even like the sleek, stylish lines of a downtown cityscape, the negative white on the black design on these dark, matte polish nails is smooth, easy, and ultimately unforgettable.
50) Matte Black With an Intricate Design
The smooth, solid matte black of these nails is perfectly highlighted by the touch of glitter and bare skin on the accent! With the hint of the natural nail color poking through, it’s a perfect balance between total drama and natural simplicity, and the glittering design of the crystals just helps to strike that balance even further.
50 Elegant Nail Designs that Are Absolutely Show-Stopping
Whether you’re gearing up for a night out or just hunkering down for the daily grind, having nails that reflect your own unique personality is something that can take your day or night from good to great. With any of the cool, classy nail designs here on this list, your nails will serve as a mirror of your own natural charm, and you’ll be able to feel elegant, poised, and ready to catch whatever the world can throw at you next! Be sure to share your own ideas, and let us see how you’ve made these nail styles your own!