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60 Short Nail Design Ideas That Make A Statement Right Now

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It can be pretty difficult to wear long nails when you’ve got a busy lifestyle, a hands-on job, or kids to run around after – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have GREAT nails, too!

In fact, short, clean nails with bold designs (or a more understated look) are seriously on trend at the moment. Seen on the likes of celeb royalty including Hailey Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Kim K – everyone seems to swapping the long acrylics for a more understated look.

I’ve personally always preferred a short mani, avoiding the risk of my long nails accidentally liking my ex’s new Insta photo or making it easier to share a new TikTok vid that you just. can’t. click with longer talons.

Another bonus is that short nails are much less likely to chip or break, so you can expect your mani to last longer – which is perfect in the current climate!

Whether you’re an acrylic addict, a fan of press-on nails, an on-the-go gal who loves quick and easy nail wraps or prefer to use your fave nail polish – we’ve got a short nail design for *literally* everyone!

After all, who said you need long nails to wear amazing designs? Definitely not us!


60 of the best short nail designs


Best minimalist short nails

1. Nude short nail design

Nude nails *never* go out of style.


2. Matte white short nails

Matte nails are a great switch up from the usually glossy mani, and you can always mix it up by using a combination of both gloss and matte. Although this style looks great on short nails, we personally love a matte on any length or shape.


3. Short glossy nails with hearts

Who said shorter nails have to be bland and boring?! We love this glossy milky set with cute red hearts.


4. Minimalist black and white short nail design

These mismatched black and white nail designs look amazing on natural plain nails.


Best short coffin nails

5. Short matte black coffin nails

Coffin nails are a style that demands attention, but they don’t have to be extra-long. This short mani is a less dramatic finish that looks neat and feminine.


6. Short vanilla white matte coffin nails

A milky mani is still bang on trend in the world of nails.


7. Light pink and grey short coffin nails with 3D details and chrome powder

Can you see the iridescent chrome on the 3D details? SO pretty.


8. Short blue marble coffin nails with gold leaf

January blues? Not us with these nails!


Best short French nails

9. Short iridescent natural French tip nails

Classic nude Frenchies *never* go out of style and this iridescent finish is *everything*.


10. Short pink French nails

Looking for something a little more bold? Try a shade of pink on your French mani! These hot pink ones are perfect for summer.


11. Gold foil short French tip nails

Metallics are a huge trend this year, especially with nails and jewellery.


12. Short reverse French tip nails

Change it up a bit with a reverse Frenchie rather than a traditional one.



Best short almond nails

13. Short nude almond nails with red Greek nail designs

Nude almond nails are the ultimate clean girl aesthetic, and this set is the perfect fashion statement.


14. Short white glazed donut almond nails

In between white, silver, glazed donut and gloss. 


15. Short silver chrome almond nails

Chrome is still very much in this year.


16. Short almond nails with leopard print French tips and red bows

You can still achieve AMAZING nail art on shorter nails, and this set is *so* on trend with animal print French tips and cute red bows.


Best stiletto short nails

17. Short yellow stiletto French nails

Add some sunshine yellow to a classic French mani for a colourful twist.


18. Short chrome stiletto nails with gems

Okay, so this set isn’t super-short, but they’re certainly shorter than a lot of the stiletto nails out there, combining chrome and gems for a super sparkly mani.


19. Short multicoloured holographic stiletto nails

This multicoloured holo mani is giving Christmas lights vibes.


20. Short black gothic stiletto nails with 3D snakes

Inspired by Taylor Swift’s Reputation album, 3D snakes and airbrushed art look incredible on black stiletto nails.



Best short square nails

21. Short square nails with yellow grid nail art

The *perfect* mani for working in the office – short enough to type easily and not too ‘out there’!


22. Short leopard print square nails with glitter

Leopard print lends itself SO well to short nails, and the added glitter on this set is perfection for a fun mani without the length.


23. Short nude square nails with 3D pearls

3D nails are one of the biggest trends in 2024, and they don’t have to be too OTT. We love this nude set with added pretty pearls.


24. Short square liquorice nails

Short square nails with a dark polish are set to be a huge trend in 2024 after Cardi B was seen wearing a very similar set at The Oscars this year.



Best cute short nails with designs

25. Short nails with multicoloured dots nail art

Nail art can be this easy. Just a few dots away from rocking these mood boosters!


26. Short neon aura nails with 3D details

Neon looks particularly good on short nails, and this colourful aura set combines neon with 3D details. Perfection.


27. Short milky vanilla croc print nails

These bold but subtly understated croc nails will fit right in at the water cooler at work.


28. Short colourful nails with white wavy lines

Wavy line nail art is a classic, combine with some bright colours and you’ve got the perfect short mani for summer.



Best ombre short nails

29. Ombre lines short nails

These lines incorporate ombre for a really cool and imaginative twist on the trend.


30. Short nude nails with subtle ombre sparkle

This nude set with sparkle ombre that fades along the nail makes the perfect wedding mani.


31. Short ombre sky nails

Skyscape nails are huge at the moment, and these dreamy clouds with ombre blue skies are seriously beautiful.


32. Maroon and grey ombre nails with twinkle stars

Ombre looks particularly impressive on dark nails like this maroon mani.


Best white short nail designs

33. Short natural nails with white daisy nail art

The cutest tiny white daisies with a hint of yellow – the perfect spring mani?


34. Short white French tip nails

You can’t beat the traditional Frenchie.


35. Short black and white scallop nails

We are seriously *obsessed* with this modern take on the French tip.



Best pink short nails

36. Short lipgloss pink nails with tiny flowers

A reverse on the daisy nails above, these cute flowers are sitting on the cuticle for another twist on the trend.


37. Short baby pink super square nails

Baby pink is one of the most popular nail colours for spring, and this super square set looks so chic and neat.


38. Short pink nails with magic mushroom nail art

These nails are proof that magic DOES exist.


39. Short pink and beige lava lamp nails

Taking it back to the 60s with these beige and Barbie pink short nails. Groovy, baby.



Best red short nails

40. Short red nails with juicy cherry nail art

Break up a regular red mani with some cute cherries.


41. Red glitter short nails

This *perfect* set of short red glittery nails would fit right in at Christmas… But hold your horses, as they say, we’ll get to festive winter nails soon!


42. Short red, nude, and black geometric nails

A really modern take on red nails. This one is really easy to recreate at home with a thin nail brush and some polishes!



Best blue short nails

43. Short dark blue nails with foil overlays

True blue, baby we LOVE you.


44. Royal blue short nails with blue heart feature nails

These super glossy royal blue nails are seriously classy and the addition of a heart feature nail is a fun twist on a plain mani,


45. Short royal blue nails with glazed donut finish

With so many shades to choose from, sometimes it’s *really* difficult to decide, but you can’t go wrong with an electric blue mani.



Best spring short nails

46. Short pink nails with strawberry nail art

The cutest baby strawberry nails for spring.


47. Short pastel mosaic French tip nails

Pastels for spring has *got to* be done.


48. Short blue electric nails with pink and white flower nail art

Dopamine in a mani.


49. Short iridescent unicorn shine nails

These unicorn iridescent nails are pure holiday inspo.



Best summer short nails

50. Short black and neon yellow nails

They’re giving bumble bee.


51. Mismatched colourful summer nail art

It’s not necessary to be chilling by a pool to pull off these *super* cute colourful nails, but it definitely doesn’t hurt.


52. Colourful swirl nails with flowers

The dreamiest swirl nails with cute flowers.


53. Yellow summer short summer nails

These! pink, yellow, and green neon nails with definitely brighten up your day – even if the typical British summer doesn’t pull through on the sunshine, as usual! 



Best fall short nails

54. Dark green fall nails

There’s no better dark green shade for fall than @essie Force of Nature.


55. Clear nails with fall foliage and gold leaf

Leaves falling off the trees, long walks wrapped up, take-out coffee and shorter days… Anyone else daydreaming about fall?


56. Short khaki nails with swirl hearts

Who knew khaki nails could be so feminine?


57. Pink Halloween nails with dripping blood

One of my FAVE things about fall is Halloween, and I know I’m not alone in this! And there are some seriously spooky nail art designs out there to finish off your fancy dress outfit.


Best winter short nails

58. Pink French tip nails with twinkle shimmer stars

Nothing says winter like shimmery stars.


59. Short mirror shine nails

The shiniest holiday nails around.


60. Minimalist Christmas nails with reindeer and hearts nail art

How sweet are these minimalist Christmas nail designs with reindeer, hearts, and gold glitter?!


The takeaway

Well, we think these 60 short nail design ideas have definitely proven that longer ISN’T always better!

Shorter nails make it *way* easier on a day-to-day basis than super-long talons (ever tried buttoning up your shirt with extra-long coffin nails? It’s difficult, let me tell you).

So, there’s only one thing for it – to the nail salon!


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Senior Beauty Editor

Laura Kemp started her journalism career as a news reporter for one of the largest newspaper groups in Europe before moving into features and editorial writing. Combining her love of hard-hitting journalism with her passion for beauty, she’s now Senior Beauty Editor at Live That Glow. When she’s not writing, researching, or interviewing her favourite experts, you’ll find Laura practicing her downward dog or drifting on her paddleboard.

Expertise: Hair care, nails
Education: University of Salford

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