45 of the Prettiest Checkered Nail Designs to Make You Smile
Main Image – @pop_polished/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 to start the year.
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 checkered mani
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 and some tape. Scroll to the bottom of this article for the full tutorial.
3. Baby blue checkered nails with flames
Baby blue is going to be seen *everywhere* in 2024, and this press on set from Claire’s (£10.00 on the Claire’s UK website/$12.99 on the Claire’s US website) will make sure you nail the trend.
4. Brown checkered nails with flower power
This brown mix-and-match set looks perfect on short nails, and the muted 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.
Image – @nailsbybrooke___/instagram
5. Barbie pink checkered nails with stars
Stars are going to be a firm fave this year, with loads of different ways you can wear this trend. But we are absolutely loving this mani with half-stars and half-checkers.
Want to wear this set? Ask your nail tech for a baby pink and bright pink checkered pattern on your fourth fingers, plain bright pink on your index and little fingers, and baby pink and bright pink half-stars on your middle fingers.
Or, take a screenshot of this set with you to your appointment!
6. Baby pink see-through checkered mani
More of an understated baby pink fan? No worries!
To get this look at home, start with a super sheer nude pink base all over the nails.
Add checkers to some (or all) of your nails and alternate with a double French tip on the other nails! (Take a look at our French tip nail ideas and tutorial here).
7. Red and white checkered Frenchies
This almond set is pretty intricate so unless you’ve got a super steady hand, you’re best to ask your nail tech to do these ones for you!
Prefer to do your nails at home? Order this press-on set from Betty Cora (£3.16 on the Bestty Cora UK website/$3.99 on the Betty Cora US website) for minimum effort, and maximum impact.
8. Slime green checkered French tip nails
Are checkers on every nail a *bit* too much for you? Don’t worry, a more understated take on the trend is checkered French tips!
This style looks great in literally any colour combo, so go wild!
9. Lime green and negative space checkered nails
If you love bright nails, then you’ll love these lime-green talons! Negative space is the perfect way to really make the lime green polish take centre stage.
This colour green also looks amazing with fuschia, bright oranges, yellow, and other shades of pink and purple.
Give it a go!
10. Dark green and sheer checkered mani
Dark green is the epitome of class, add some sheer silver and you’ve got some of the classiest nails we’ve ever seen!
Perfect for fall and winter, this combo has been dubbed ‘cat eye green’ for its dark hues and shimmery accents.
11. Yellow mismatched jelly checkered nails
Jelly nails are still having a moment in 2024, add in some checkers, glitter and neon colours and you’re bang on trend.
The ‘lipgloss of manicures’ jelly nails are super shiny and glossy, giving the appearance of jelly (hence the name!)
12. Purple checkerboard nails with swirls
I’ve got to admit, I love a swirl nail design! You can easily mix this up with a checkered feature nail for a new twist.
This one is pretty easy to recreate using two different coloured nail polishes and a thin nail brush. Paint alternate nails in plain purple, add one accent nail of checkers, and add one nail with simple swirls. *Dreamy*.
13. Lavender checkered accent nails
Another super simple way to wear nail art is with nail wraps, like these ones from nailwrap.co (£7.68 on the Nail Wrap UK website/$9.78 on the Nail Wrap US website).
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 checkered nails
The ice cream of nail colours, pastels look seriously amazing in a checkered print!
For a set like this one, ask your manicurist for checkered print with negative space, and French tip feature nails.
15. Multicoloured checkered nails with silver flames
Hot girl rich drip summer incoming! These nails have it all – multiple colours, ombre print, negative space, AND silver flames.
Not only that, some of these nails have a wavy checkered print rather than the traditional straight lines, giving them a super modern spin.
Add some checkered print jewellery like the ones below to really make a statement.
16. Neon mix-and-match checkerboard nails
Who doesn’t love smiley faces and flowers?! We know we do!
The beauty of this trend is that you can ask your nail tech for *literally* any designs – the more mismatched the better.
17. Burnt orange and brown checkered nails with French tips
A super 70s vibe, burnt orange looks seriously cool with brown.
This super glossy set with a barely-there nude base is perfect for fall, or any time of year.
18. Rainbow checkered nails with designs
All the colours of the rainbow! We love this mani with checkers and feature nails complete with cute cherries and pretty flowers.
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. Abstract French tip checkered mani
For a modern take on the classic French tip nail, make it checkered and abstract! This design looks perfect with any colour combo, so don’t be afraid to use all the colours of the rainbow.
For a more understated look, go for pastel and nude shades and, if you’re more on the daring side, go for bright neons and clashing colours.
Image – @laurenladnier/instagram
20. 90s grunge 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 in white and the other is painted in black, with contrasting smiley’s on the middle nails.
21. Acrylic matte checkered nails
The checkered print looks great with a matte finish – and the smileys are optional.
Another twist on the trend, this set has varying square sizes to really mix it up!
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.
Another way to create checkered nails at home is to paint one-half of your nails (vertically) in a colour and the other half in a contrasting colour.
Once this is dry, use a thin brush to paint a square in the upper left corner of each nail – using the contrasting colour – and the lower right corner of the nail using the same contrasting colour.
23. Cute cartoon press-on checkered nails
No time to visit the salon? TBH, nail art like this can take quite a long time, so we don’t blame you!
These cute cartoon press-on nails complete with checkered design will take *literally* 10 minutes to apply and can last for over a week.
Check out the selection from Betty Cora, with this set coming in at £10.19 on the Betty Cora UK website/$10.99 on the Betty Cora US website.
24. 3D checkered mani with pearls
Checkered nails, but make them 3D!
Incorporating the recent oyster nail trend, this mani is perfect for those of us who love 3D pearls, gems and rhinestones. Who said checkered nails had to be 2D?!
25. ‘Just a slice’ checkered nails
A ‘slice’ of checkered print is a great way to nod to the trend, and you can utilise any colours and shades.
Keep it black and white with negative space for a more understated look, or use a contrasting colour like this bright pink for a super fun look.
26. Glitchy trippy checkered nails
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 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. Checkered Hot Wheels flag nails
Ready, set, go! Nothing says checkered like racing flags.
This super-long set includes classic checkered print, right yellow, and flames to rival the Hot Wheels logo!
29. Alice in Wonderland checkered nail art design
Ok, ok, this one is a really tough one to create at home – unless you’re trained in nail art!
But fear not, take a screenshot of this to your mani appointment (these are perfect for Halloween or fancy dress) for a truly whimsical manicure that is sure to turn heads.
30. Black and chrome checkered manicure
We *love* a chrome nail (we’ve even put together a list of 45 of the best chrome manis in this article), and checkered nails look seriously amazing in chrome!
This set is created using chrome and black which really makes it shine.
31. Short checkered nails with designs
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. Minimalist checkered nails
Don’t want to fully commit to the checkered trend? These minimalist nails are the perfect nod.
Ask your nail tech for invisible checkered nail art (we recommend taking this photo with you to the salon), or use a thin nail art brush to paint a single square in each corner of your nail.
33. Stars and studs checkered nails
This mani incorporates a few 2024 trends – block colours, checkerboard, stars AND studs. And this set is pretty easy to do at home if you’ve got a steady hand!
Use one of the tutorials in this article to create checkerboards on your chosen nails, and add a block colour feature nail by painting 2 contrasting colours horizontally.
Add some star nail art stickers in gold and silver and seal with a top coat for a *seriously* impressive mani that will look like you’ve just been to the salon.
34. Long lemonade checkerboard nails
Yellows, pinks and oranges work SO well together – especially when it comes to nails. And these lemonade yellow ones are no exception!
Mixing the checkered print with other designs is a really fresh take on this trend (in case you haven’t noticed already!)
To recreate this look, as your nail tech for a flower design, a nail with a swirl design, tie-dye, and checkers using a bright pink, lemon yellow, and bold orange.
35. Blue coffin checkered nails
The classic black and white checkerboard mixed with silver sparkles and baby blue flames – what more could you want in a mani?!
Get this set from Claire’s (£10.00 on the Claire’s UK website/$12.99 on Claire’s US website) and you’ll be manicure ready in less than 10 minutes!
36. Wavy almond checkered mani
Try wavy swirls of the checkered pattern to really show off your long and sleek almond nails. The negative space on this mani looks amazing with the contrasting colours – and don’t be afraid to use a different colour on each nail!
Don’t forget to screenshot this one for your next nail appointment.
37. False illusion ballerina checkered nails
Another nod to Alice in Wonderland, these illusion ballerina nails are giving serious Queen of Hearts vibes! And it just goes to show that checkered doesn’t have to always be squares.
You can pick up these falsies from Revolution Beauty (£6.00 on the UK website/$3.60 on the Revolution Beauty US website).
38. Pink holograph and classic checkerboard stiletto nails
We *love* the ongoing holographic nail trend for its versatility and seemingly never-ending colours, but we never imagined pairing it with the checkered trend like this set below!
If you want to know how to do holographic nails from the comfort of your couch, we’ve got you with our step-by-step guide. PS. It’s easier than it looks!
39. Pastels and daisies spring checkered nails
Nothing says spring like pastel shades and daisies, and these smiley nails are making us excited for the upcoming 2024 spring season!
To get this look, ask your nail tech for a tiny checkered print using pastel shades, and a feature nail with a daisy (smiley face optional but we advise it because it’s too cute, TBH).
If you’ve mastered the checkered print, use contrasting pastel shades and add some cute nail stickers like these ones from Etsy (£3.70 on Etsy UK/$4.50 on Etsy US).
40. Valentine’s white checkered nails with pink 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 on each nail and half-white half-plain on the middle finger with a teeny tiny pink heart.
For a bolder look, go for bright pink on the checkered nails!
41. Summer wavy checkered nails with French tips
Now this set has a lot going on, and I love it! Yellow and green are the perfect colours for summer, but any bright shades would look great.
If you want this mani, ask your nail tech for alternating coloured French nails with white swirls and tiny checkered print.
42. Fire and flowers burnt orange fall checkered nails
A 70s-inspired colour palette is perfect for fall – think oranges, reds and browns.
This mani incorporates the changing colours of the leaves, roaring fires and the checkerboard trend for nails that will look amazing in the autumnal weather with a pumpkin-spiced latte in hand.
43. Drip Halloween checkered nails
Drip nails are basically what they say on the tin, and they’ve been all over social media in 2023.
The usual Halloween drip nails involve red to signify dripping blood, but these drip purple and checkered print nails are a *perfect* update on the trend.
This set has been created using Magpie Beauty nail polishes.
44. Winter checkered nails
These ethereal-looking nails are the perfect frosty take on the checkered nail trend, evoking thoughts of sparkling snow and icicles.
For this mani, use a sheer colour as the base and shimmery polishes in different shades to create the checkered print.
45. Christmas checkered nails
The classiest EVER Christmas mani? It could be! With block reds, tiny tree nail art, the *cutest* Christmas lights and green checkerboard, this mani has a lot going on but still looks super classy and neat.
You can mix this mani up however you like, but sticking with a neutral base and using just red and green is what really give this set a grown-up yet fun feel.
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.
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!