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25 Minimalist Nail Art Ideas That Are *Super* Easy To DIY

Proof that less is more.
25 Minimalist Nail Art Ideas and Designs
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Instagram/thehangedit, Instagram/hollyfalconenails
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I know minimalist nail art may seem kinda pointless (why bother going to the salon for some dots and lines?!), but listen: Simple isn't synonymous with sheer and boring. Minimal can mean monochrome colors, abstract designs, negative space, geometric lines—pretty much anything you want. It's the type of manicure that's ideal for the person who doesn't want a super-detailed, dramatic set, or someone who cringes at the idea of themed holiday nails. Plus, if you're of the DIY persuasion, minimalist nail art is wayyy easier to do yourself than a fully embellished nail. And to give you a better visual and a few ideas to get you started, I rounded up 25 designs that are simple and clean, not basic and boring. Keep scrolling for your next mani idea.

25 Minimalist Nail Art Ideas And Designs That Are Easy To DIY

  1. Gold Micro French Mani

    Gold nail polish all over? A little much. But a thin French tip is just the right amount of metallic for a minimalist nail art design.

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  2. Flower Motif Mani

    Minimalist nails are known for their lack of intricate design, but when you want to try a motif for your minimal mani, paint the design over a plain background. See how these flower nails still look sweet and simple? 

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  3. Abstract Tips

    Instead of a simple French that goes straight across, try it with two different shades and sizes for more of an abstract design. Use shades of orange, and you've got yourself a minimalist Halloween nail look. 

  4. Geometric Red Nails

    Red nail polish? A classic choice. Geometric shapes? A cool touch. This mani is a bit of both classic and cool. 

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  5. Simple Minimalist Dots

    Next time you paint your nails with a simple sheer polish and decide it's not enough, add tiny black-and-white nails dots near the cuticle of your nail. The smallest details can make the biggest difference.

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  6. Milky Almond Nails

    When the art is simple, you can let the color and shape of your nail be the focus. I'm lovin' these rounded minimalist almond nails and this hazy pink-tinted white polish.

  7. Sliver of Silver Glitter Nail Polish

    This is glitter nail polish done the minimal way. Usually, I would never put "sparkle" and "simple" in the same sentence, but if you keep the shimmer to a small sliver, it works. 

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  8. Classic French Manicure

    If you prefer the classic kind of minimalism over the modern kind, an elegant French manicure is an easy choice.

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  9. Matte and Glossy Mani

    While we're on the topic of French manis and modern minimalism, try this version that mixes different finishes of the same shade with matte nail polish on the base and a gloss on the tips.

  10. Neutral Negative Space Mani

    Nothing says "minimalist" more than neutral nail polish, abstract designs, and negative space, and this look checks all those boxes.

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  11. Monochromatic Mani

    These varying tones of mauve nail polish keep this mani fun but still within the lines of minimal nail art because of the monochrome color palette.

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  12. Rose Gold Squiggles

    See, this is what I mean when I say that minimalist nail art doesn't mean boring nails. The random squiggles make it fun and lighthearted, while the rose and pink nail polish shades keep it classic.

  13. Subtle Stiletto Nails

    Super pointy stiletto nails go perfectly with lots of embellishments and decorative designs, but here's proof that you don't need a ton of extra details to make this minimalist nail shape stand out. 

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  14. Pastel Abstract Tips

    If you want a minimal spring nail look because Easter egg nails are just way too literal for you, use your pastel nail polish to paint these wavy tips instead. 

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  15. Asymmetrical Tips

    Clean lines and a simple color palette are really all you need to pull off a minimalist nail art design. Exhibit A: This white-and-pink combo on round nails with asymmetrical tips.

  16. Swirls of Color

    Don't know how to paint your nails like this? Drop a few dots and lines in different shades of the same color family (this is minimalism, after all) and while the paint is still wet, use a striper brush to blend and swirl them together.

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  17. Pastel Nails

    When you want to wear a pastel nail design, balance out the rainbow shades with a little negative space and abstract shapes to keep it minimal.

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  18. Subtle Minimalist Shimmer

    Long oval nails like these just beg for a classy sheer nude color. This one has the slightest bit of shimmer to give it that little something extra without being too ~extra~.

  19. Minimal Abstract Shapes

    This mani with fall nail colors and abstract designs is the perfect example of minimalist nail art that incorporates non-boring shades. When in doubt, keep the variety of colors you use to a ~minimum~.

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  20. Black Negative Space Mani

    The clear nail extensions are a nice touch, all you really need is black nail polish and a little patience to pull off this negative-space mani. 

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  21. White Outlined Nails

    Remember when we used to paint Wite-Out on our nails in class? This much, much cooler version of back-to-school nails has the sophistication that minimalist nail art is known for.

  22. Nude Negative Space

    This spotted nail polish in earthy tones gives me boho minimalist vibes, and I'm into it. To recreate it, paint a swipe of the speckled polish below over a coat of another similar shade, and finish with a shiny top coat.

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  23. Neon Accent Nails

    These summery nails show how to take a loud maximalist color like neon green and simplify it for a minimal nail art look. A couple of negative-space accent nails will do it.

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  24. Minimal Embellishments

    The trick to wearing jeweled nail art and keeping it minimal? Start with short nails and only add a single stone to each finger with nail glue.

  25. Abstract Designs

    Ok, I'll admit: Abstract designs, even the minimal kind, are hard to DIY sometimes. Find yourself a pair of pre-painted press-on nails to make it easier. 

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.

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