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checkered nails

45 of the Prettiest Checkered Nail Designs to Make You Smile

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Main Image – @nailsbytammy___/instagram

Checkerboard prints are a classic, from Vans sneakers to Louis Vuitton handbags and dartboards to chessboards. Now, the checkered trend is firmly back for 2024 – in the form of cool nail art.

Seen recently on the hands of Dua Lipa and Gwen Stefani, there are *hundreds* of takes on this trend and we’ve put together 45 of THE coolest that will last you all year round.

So whether you’re into minimalist nails, bold and bright designs, short and neat patterns, or simple feature nails, we’ve got you covered.



1. White and nude checkered nails with smiley faces

An understated take on the classic, nude looks great with white checkers. 

Go the whole hog and ask your nail tech for checkers on every nail, or mix and match patterns like these smiley face ones for a fun look.


2. Black and white wavy checkered mani with 3D smiley faces

The classic checkered nail! Want to try this look at home? We got you.

All you’ll need is two polish colours, a top coat, some tape, and smiley face stickers or charms (Etsy has a great selection).  Scroll to the bottom of this article for the full tutorial!


3. Light teal checkered nails with flowers

blue checkerboard nails

Image – @thehangedit/instagram

Baby blue, light blue, and teal are going to be seen *everywhere* in 2024, and this cute press on set from Etsy (£32.31/$39.00) will make sure you nail the trend.


4. Brown checkered nails with flower power

This brown mix-and-match set looks perfect on shorter nails, and the neutral chocolate colours mean you can *probably* get away with wearing these in the office!

For a more fun look, try some bright colours like neon and yellow.


5. Baby pink sparkly checkered nails with stars

Stars are going to be a firm fave this year, with loads of different ways you can wear this trend. Want to wear this set? Ask your nail tech for sparkly baby pink nails with white patterns like flowers, stars, checkers, and yin and yang. 

Or, take a screenshot of this set with you to your appointment!


6. Light pink nails with checkerboards, swirls, and bowling balls

More of a fan of glossy baby pink nails rather than sparkles and glitter? No worries!

With tiny bowling balls (I’ve been seeing bowling ball nail art a lot lately, another nail trend incoming maybe?), simple swirls, and one checkerboard feature nail, this mani is bang on trend without having as many elements as a full mismatched mani.


7. Red and pink mix and match checkered nails

The cutest short mani with red and pink designs! 

Claire’s has got the *perfect* press on nails to recreate this look without having to make an appointment at the salon.


8. Green checkered mismatched nails

Are checkers on every nail a *bit* too much for you? Don’t worry, you can add loads of other designs to mix it up!

This style looks great in literally any colour combo, so go wild!


9. Black, white and negative space mismatched checkered nails

If you love understated nails that still show off your personality, then you’ll love these black checkered nails! Negative space is the perfect way to really make your nail art take centre stage.

This design also looks amazing with bright colours like fuschia, bright oranges, yellow, and other shades of pink and purple.

Give it a go!


10. Yellow and pink gingham checkered nails

These would be SO perfect for spring nails!

Zazzle has some really cute pink and yellow checkered nail wraps that would be perfect to recreate these feature nails.

11. Clashing prints with checkerboard feature nails

There are no rules when it comes to mismatched manicures, so go all out! 

If you’re good with a nail brush, you can try some easy nail designs with lots of different polishes to create your very own mani. This ultra fine nail brush from Mylee is great for creating art and prints.


12. Orange flame nails with bowling balls and checkered print

If you want to incorporate the checkered print in a small way, this half moon nail art above the cuticle is a great idea.

This is a pretty intricate mani, so take a screenshot to your nail tech!


13. Lavender checkerboard nails with flowers

Another super simple way to wear nail art is with nail wraps, like these ones from

If you want to know more about nail wrap stickers, how to apply them, and how to remove them, take a look at our guide here.


14. Pastel ice cream mismatched nails with checkered French tips

The ice cream of nail colours, pastels look seriously amazing in a checkered print!

For a set like this one, ask your manicurist for mismatched designs in pastel shades, and French tip feature nails.


15. Multicoloured checkered nails

All of the colours in one mani!

You’ll need 10 polishes for this set – two for each nail. Haven’t got that many nail varnishes? You can mix your own by adding white to get lighter shades or black for darker shades.


16. Neon long checkerboard nails with flames

Super long nails mean more room for designs! This neon set will definitely make a statement and get you noticed.

As your nail tech for long coffin or ballerina shape nails, a different neon colour on each nail with black checkers, and constrasting neon flames at the tip. In the words of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie – “that’s hot”.


17. Orange short checkered nails with negative space

A super 70s vibe, burnt orange looks seriously cool on natural nails.

This super glossy set with a milky nude base is perfect for fall, or any time of year.


18. Checkered nails neon with designs

All the colours of the rainbow! We love this mani with traditional black and white checkers and neon details.

This one is pretty difficult to recreate at home, but Ciate London has *tons* of cool nail wrap designs that you can mix and match to create a similar look – they take a couple of minutes to apply and they last for up to 7 days!


19. Tangerine shades of orange checkered nails

The perfect summer checkered nails? This bright tangerine orange with a neon peach shade is a really fun take on the trend, especially with the added gold leaf flecks.

For a more understated look, go for pastel and nude shades and, if you’re more on the daring side, go for bright neons like the set above or clashing colours.


20. 90s grunge classic black and white checkered nails

Nothing says 90s grunge like the black and white checkered print seen on Vans sneakers and smiley faces like the classic Blink 182 album artwork.

What’s more, one hand is painted white and the other is painted black for a cool take on the trend, and you can add some cool nail art or stickers to the plain nails if you want to add some colour to your monochrome mani!


21. Acrylic primary colours checkered nails

Another twist on the trend, this set has varying square sizes to really mix it up!

And, if gels, BIAB, or natural nails are more your bag, this set can be done with any type of mani.


22. Gel checkerboard nails

One of the best things about a checkered mani is that there are no rules! They look great with any colour palette and you can mix and match to your heart’s content.

This is a pretty intricate set so you might need help from your nail tech. If you’re not a fan of the salon, Etsy has an amazing checkered set (£24.99/$33.00) using shades of brown and incorporating lots of patterns like the set above.


23. Half and half lilac and blue checkered nails

They’re giving school summer dress vibes – so cute.

This is the perfect mani if you want to get in on the trend without covering all of your nails, and the tiny print is adorable. Using the video tutorial in this article to create the print, all you need to do is apply tape to the side of the nail you want to keep plain!


24. Checkered mani with 3D nail designs

Checkered nails, but incorporate the 3D nail trend!

Combining gems, checkers, 3D designs, and plenty of pops of colour, screenshot this one for your next nail appointment – I’ve got this one saved in my bookmarks.


25. Nude and monochrome checkered nails with silver glitter

Usually seen in bright colours, this tonal checkered set is a really interesting take on the trend for those of us who prefer silvers and monochrome.

Keep it black and white with negative space for a more understated look, or use contrasting bright colours for a super fun look.


26. Glitchy trippy wavy checkered nails with French tips

This mani is SERIOUSLY trippy – and I love it! And it’s easier to create than it seems!

If you look closely, this design is created with wavy lines, white black, orange, yellow, blue and grey for a cool and glitchy effect.


27. Ombre pink and yellow checkered nails

Ombre nails are still a firm fave in 2024 following their success in 2023! Want to create this look at home? You might find it a *bit* difficult to paint the flowers, but you can create an ombre effect using a sponge and a few nail polish colours.

Simply paint a few chosen colours onto a small sponge and print it onto your nail, tidying any overspill using some nail polish remover/acetone and a cotton bud or small nail brush.

Once that’s dry, paint the checkerboard pattern using any colour you like (using the tutorial at the bottom of this article), add a top coat and you’re done!


28. Shades of blue short wavy checkered nails

The perfect shades for any season, we love the wavy design on these checkers!

If you want to give this look a go at home, check out this tutorial from OPI on how to do a wavy checkered nail.


29. Green and blue checkered nails with French tips and magical mushrooms

We love this magical mushroom mani with blue and green checkerboard print AND French tips!

Want to add some mystical mushrooms to your mani? Take a look at these seriously cute fungi nail stickers from Etsy.


30. Black and white square checkered nails

This might be my favourite mani of the roundup! I love the way the checkers look like steps and don’t cover the whole nail, creating a really innovative look – especially on a milky nude base and neat square nails.

The squares on this set might be a bit difficult to recreate at home, so take a screenshot to your manicurist!


31. Short checkered nails with yellow smiley faces

Longer isn’t always better, and this mani proves it! If you’re not into long talons or you’ve got a manual job, this set is perfect for you.

Ask your nail tech for short, rounded nails with a pattern on each nail – the world is your oyster with this one.


32. French tip wavy checkerboard nails

Don’t want to fully commit to the trend? Incorporate the checkerboard print in your French tip nails”

These pastel colours are perfect for spring but, if you want to be a bit bolder, use neon colours.


33. White checkered nails with silver chrome details

I think this mani proves that checkered nails can also be really chic, especially with the base being a natural nude shade that doesn’t draw too much attention when paired with white checkers.

The silver chrome shapes on the nails are a really modern look that’s popular in the world of nails at the moment, usually paired with an airbrush aura design.


34. Long bright green nails with checkerboards and flames

The brightest nails with flames and checkerboards! These designs looks great on any colour nails, but bright green is the perfect base for these long coffin talons.

To add some nail art to your mani, take a look at these nail stickers from Etsy that you can add to any manicure.


35. Summer picnic press on checkered coffin nails

Look at those gingham prints and tasty snacks!

This is the Mega XXL length using @apresnailofficial x @chaunlegend tips and using @nailz_by_dev Hella Cute Liner brush! Would you brave a set this long?!


36. Green almond checkered nails

Try different types and sizes of the checkered pattern to really show off your long and sleek almond nails. The nude paired with green on this mani looks amazing – but don’t be afraid to use a different colour on each nail!

Don’t forget to screenshot this one for your next nail appointment, and let your nail tech know the colours used are from @the_gelbottle_inc – You’re welcome.


37. Oval milky muted checkerboard nails with smiley faces

A milky polish is the perfect base for nail art like the set above, and these nails would fit right in during fall.

These mismatched press on nails from Etsy are a great set to recreate this mani from the comfort of your couch, and, they’re reusable. Bonus.


38. Mismatched stiletto checkered nails

In case you hadn’t noticed, mismatched nails are EVERYWHERE at the moment!

This set with flowers and swirls just screams cosy afternoons reading a book by the fire with a big cup of tea. To get premium press on nails like the set above, head to @naileditbychelsey on Instagram!


39. Neon pastels and daisies spring checkered nails

Nothing says spring like bright pastel shades and daisies, and these nails are making us excited for the upcoming 2024 spring season!

To get this look, ask your nail tech for a wavy checkered print using neon pastel shades, and a feature nail with daisies. If you’ve mastered the checkered print, use contrasting pastel shades and add some cute nail stickers like these ones from Etsy.


40. Valentine’s monochrome nails with clouds and hearts

This mani is super sweet for Valentine’s Day, whether you’re spending it with your partner or with the gals.

A simple but effective design using white and negative space, this manicure uses a checkerboard print feature nails, as well as cute hearts, clouds, and lightning bolts.

For a bolder look, go for bright pink on the checkered nails!


41. Summer neon abstract checkered stiletto nails

Abstract is a popular nail trend at the moment that looks really cool and modern and works in basically every shade!

This is really easy to recreate at home with some scotch tape and nail polishes in different colours. Just make sure you sick the piece of tape to your skin a few times so it doesn’t pull off any polish when you remove it from your nail.


42. Neutral fall checkered nails

A neutral colour palette is perfect for fall – think oranges, golds, reds and browns.

This mani incorporates chrome, gold, silver, and warm neutral hues that will look amazing in the autumnal weather with a pumpkin-spiced latte in hand.


43. Cute Halloween checkered nails

THE cutest Halloween nails ever!

I really love how these short nails are proving that you don’t need long talons for amazing nail art. As your nail tech for checkers, pumpkins, witches hats, stars, and moons to recreate this look.


44. Winter mulled wine checkered nails

I often think of mulled wine when I think of winter, and these burgundy nails with checkered print feature nails are the perfect set for cold evening holding a warm cup of wine. Bliss.

And, this shade was everywhere in winter 2023 with the likes of Julia Garner wearing it with Gucci last autumn/winter. Chanel Rouge Noir (number 155) is the *perfect* shade to recreate this mani.


45. Christmas chrome checkered nails

Checkered nails, but make them chrome for Chistmas. Because, who doesn’t love a chrome mani?!

If you want to recreate chrome nails at home, take a look at our tutorial at the bottom of this article.


How to do checkerboard nails

We’ve included a couple of tutorials within this article, but there’s another (and probably the easiest) way you can easily create this look – as HannahRoxNails shows in her YouTube tutorial below.

Hannah uses a few small strips of scotch tape to create the neat lines that make a checkered print. First, she applies her base coat, then she sticks the tape alternately at the base, middle and tip of the nail to create squares.

Once the tape is on, she applies the contrasting nail polish on the areas that aren’t covered by the tape. While the polish is still wet, remove the tape and wait for the polish to dry before applying a top coat.


The takeaway

With no two designs the same, you can really go to town with the checkered trend or keep it traditional with simple black and white.

And it’s not just nails that you’ll be seeing covered in checkers, so if you don’t want to wear them on your nails there are tons of cool clothes like jumpers and tailored trousers, as well as phone cases and jewellery to nod to the movement.

Have you tried any of these nail tutorials? Let us know how you got on!


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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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