25 Simple Minimalist Nails For An Understated Manicure

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Sometimes, less is more. If you’re looking for easy nail art ideas that fit well into your daily life, check out these clean, minimalist nails.

In recent years, fashion has become more and more about understated dressing, with recessioncore, and quiet luxury being some of the more popular micro trends to emerge. This shift towards minimalism isn’t limited to clothing alone; it has also made its way into the world of beauty, giving rise to trends like the clean girl makeup look, and the topic of this article, minimalist nails.

Dots, geometric lines, negative space, simple French tips, curves, and swirls are just a few of the design elements that feature on minimalist nails. While there aren’t any hard rules, these nail designs typically have a clean and uncluttered look, which is perfect if you work in an office environment with a strict dress code.

So, if you are looking for nail art ideas that you can rock in or out of the office, these 25 ideas are a great place to start – save your favorites for the salon!

25 Chic & Clean Minimalist Nails

1. Blue Polka Dots

Polka dots are the perfect simple, minimalist decoration to add to your nails. For this manicure, you need to start with a sheer nude base, then add tiny polka dots in different shades of blue and gold glitter to add a sparkling touch. You could choose any color polka dots to suit your personal style.

2. Rose Gold + White

Add a touch of rose gold to bring a little glamour to an elegant French manicure! Three nails have a classic look, with a glossy nude base and white French tips, while the ring and little fingers have a matte nude base and are then finished with gleaming rose gold French tips.

3. A Touch of pink

Keep it really simple with just a touch of pink at the base of the nail. All of the nails have a nude base and are decorated with a neon pink and a bubblegum pink polka dot at the base of each nail to create a pretty, minimalist manicure.

4. Neon Stripes

We love this neon-striped design that perfectly combines a minimalist aesthetic and a striking look. The nails are painted with a pale pink base and are decorated with a neon pink stripe down the center of each nail, adding an eye-catching element to this paired-back manicure.

5. Sparkling Rhinestones

This multicolored rhinestone manicure looks stunning and would be the perfect minimalist manicure for any special occasion or event. The nails have a base of sheer nude polish and then are decorated with a rainbow of tiny sparkling rhinestones, curving around the base and one side or tip and side of the nail adding a glam touch!

6. Blue base + Tips

This asymmetric tip and base design give the nails a chic and sophisticated look, and you can play around with colors to find the shades that perfectly suit you. These nails have a clear, glossy base and then feature a swipe of blue polish diagonally at the base and tip of the nail – we love the mix of blue shades, but you could pick any shade!

7. Black + White

A singular polka dot can add a striking touch to your minimalist manicure, as you can see from this black and white nail design. The glossy nude nails are decorated with a black or a white spot on each nail – the colors alternate across the hand and the spot is placed in a different position on each nail for a stunning look.

8. Stripe Of Gold

Pastel and pale colors are an essential element of any minimalist manicure, just like these pale pink diagonal tips, while the stripe of gold adds a glamorous element. You just need to start with a layer of sheer nude polish across the whole nail, then add a diagonal swipe of pink just across the tip, finishing with a line of gleaming gold.

9. Glazed donut hearts

Glazed donut nails are super popular at the moment and are a great option for a simple manicure, but you can add an extra design detail with a little love heart. Four of the nails have been painted with shimmering white glazed donut polish, while the ring finger has a nude base and is decorated with a mini glazed donut heart.

10. Purple aura nails

This aura design is another popular nail trend that we just adore! To create your own aura nails, dab some eyeshadow in your chosen color on top of a clear base, and concentrate the color in the middle. Fade the color with an eyeshadow brush out towards the edges of the nail to create a beautiful manicure, and lock the color in with a sheer top coat.

11. Minimalist stripes

There are so many ways to create a striped design on the nails, just like this minimalist, two-tone horizontal stripe. The nails are all painted with a dark cocoa brown base, then decorated with a horizontal stripe that is half yellow and half steel blue, but you could choose your favorite colors to add a personal touch to this manicure.

12. Black polka dots

This simple black polka dot nail design has a minimalist yet striking aesthetic! The nails have been painted with a clear, glossy polish and then framed with a black line that runs around the outside of the nail. The center of each nail is then decorated with black polka dots for an attention-grabbing finish to this paired-back manicure.  

13. Wavy tips

Mix up your usual French tip design with these multicolored wave tips – so much fun! Just like a French manicure, the nails start with a glossy nude base, then each nail is decorated with a wavy, squiggly line at the tip in red, blue, yellow, green, and black, but you could choose any colors to make this manicure your own.

14. Pastel Crescents

We love this elegant and polished manicure, with subtle pastel-toned crescents at the base of the nail to add a pop of color. Each nail has been painted with a sheer white polish to create a neutral base, then a tiny curve of pastel polish at the base of the nail – so pretty.

15. Gold French Tips

Go for a little more glamour in your classic French tip design, with these gold French tips. Start with a clear, glossy base, then add a thin swipe of gold polish at the tip to create a French tip and finish off this chic and stylish nail design.

16. Diagonal striped tips

These diagonal, striped tips add a fun pop of color to a simple, neutral manicure. The nails begin with a glossy, sheer nude base and then are decorated with stripes of pastel pink, purple, and blue to create this chic diagonal tip design – just gorgeous!

17. Black Curves + circles

If you want a simple yet eye-catching minimalist manicure, then this black nail look with negative space is just perfect for you! The nails have a sheer nude base, and are then decorated with glossy black curves and circles that feature at the tip, base, and side of the nail. The middle finger is almost entirely black with a natural French tip to complete the look.

18. Multicolored Spots

This multicolored spot manicure has a fun and playful look, which we just love. The nails are all painted with a nude base and then are decorated with a stripe of polka dots down the center of the nail. This nail design includes black, white, pink, blue, and gold spots, but you could choose any colors you like, or go tonal and just pick different shades of one color.

19. Pink on pink

This pink-on-pink manicure looks stunning, with the two different shades of pink and the contrast between the matte and glossy top coats. The nails are painted with a matte pale pink polish and then are decorated with a glossy rosy pink crescent at the base of the nail.

20. Dark to light

Go for a tonal look with this neutral, brown manicure that has a chic and stylish aesthetic. Each of the nails is painted with a different brown polish, starting with dark brown on the thumb and then fading to light beige on the little finger. We love the curve that is left natural at the base of each nail – such a gorgeous design detail.

21. Mini polka dots

Add a little polka dot touch to your sheer white nails for an elegant, minimalist look. The glossy, sheer white nails have each been decorated with a small black polka dot and a white polka dot at the base of the nail.

22. Two-tone stripes

Mix up your usual stripe designs with this two-tone stripe manicure. Start with a sky blue polish on the base of the nail then add a stripe that starts as white at the base of the nail and finishes with a darker blue at the tip. This blue-on-blue design looks incredible, but you could pick any colors that best suit your personal style.

23. Gleaming gold spots

We love this luxe and opulent nail design, with the shiny gold spots decorating the tip of the nail. For this manicure, you will need to start with a nude base then add a curve of gleaming gold spot sequins, that really shine in the light, at the tip of the nail to add a glamorous touch!

24. Blue Details

The abstract blue designs on this manicure add a fun and unique touch to this minimalist manicure. These nails start with a pale sage green base and then are decorated with a curve of blue polish along one side of the nail to add an artistic touch!

25. Mini hearts

Keep it simple and just add glossy black hearts to your manicure to create a striking and stunning look! The nails have a sheer white base, which provides the perfect contrast to the glossy black hearts that decorate each nail – just perfect!

Have you found your next favorite nail design from this list? We hope you did!

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