40 Cute Short Nail Designs That Are Practical For Everyday Wear

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Short nail designs are the best when it comes to practicality – especially if you work a desk job. Although long acrylic nails may have been all the rage a few years ago, the popularity of classic, simple aesthetics like quiet luxury has meant that short nails are now in the spotlight.

We believe that short nails can be as beautiful as long, bold nails, just as long as you get your manicure right. Below are some of the best short nail ideas to get you inspired to update your manicure for any season – do them yourself, or take your favorite design to your local nail tech! 

The best Short Nail Designs To Recreate

1. Dried Flowers

This pretty design looks stunning and is perfect for short nails. The matte, nude base is decorated with little flowers and petals around the outside of the nail that look like dried flowers, creating a dainty and delicate manicure.

2. Green + Pink

Play around with a range of colors to create an eye-catching manicure on your short nails, like these green and clear nails. There are two different shades of green in this manicure, alongside a dark brown nail and a gold nail decorated with pink oversized polka dots – so much fun!

3. Abstract Gold Accents

We love the artistic, unique look of this iridescent and gold manicure. Each nail begins with an iridescent base, which shines in blue, green, and purple shades under the lights, then the nails are decorated with gleaming gold accents in a circular, crescent moon, and drip shapes – each gold accent is different to create a distinctive manicure.  

4. Mini Rainbows

Keep it simple with a neutral base and a mini rainbow to create a super cute nail design. The nails have been painted with a sheer, nude shade and then there is a little rainbow at the base of each nail to create a beautiful manicure.

5. The Evil Eye

These pale pink short nails have been decorated with little blue and white evil eyes on the index and little fingers, while the rest of the nails have a gleaming gold French tip to add a glamorous touch.

6. Coffee + Caramel

This dark coffee brown and caramel color palette is perfect for the fall and winter months. The nails are painted in glossy shades of brown, while the accent finger features bronze glitter which really sparkles in the light – just stunning!

7. Iridescent Blue

Sometimes a sparkly or shimmering nail polish is the best way to add an eye-catching touch to any short nail designs, like this iridescent polish. Each of the nails is painted with this extra special nail polish which shines in blue and purple tones under the lights, giving your nails a striking look.

8. Icy Blue Sequins

This manicure is perfect for the winter months with its icy color palette! Three nails are painted in a light blue shade, then the ring finger has a pink base and is decorated with glitter, while the little finger is covered entirely in icy blue sequins and glitter.

9. Neutral Glamour

Neutral shades can be super glamorous, just as this gorgeous manicure shows you. The nails are painted with a shimmering pale pink shade, apart from the middle finger which has a pink base and is decorated with little sparkling silver flecks – simple and chic!

10. Fall Leaves

This rich dark brown shade is perfect for the fall months, and the leaf design really complements the color. The ring finger begins with a glossy nude base and then is decorated with leaves and branches in brown and gold glitter, to add a little extra sparkle to these fall nails.

11. Green Cracks

This green, cracked design is just stunning and so unique too. Three nails have been painted in a glossy forest green shade, while the index and middle fingers have a white base and are decorated with olive green and gold lines that look like cracks along the nail – so striking!

12. Pastel Polka Dots

These pastel polka dots look super cute on these short nails! The base is kept to a neutral beige shade and then decorated with tiny polka dots in pastel yellow, pink, purple, and blue shades for a fun pop of colors. The light colors make this manicure ideal for everyday wear.

13. Pink + Gold

Go for something a little more eye-catching with this bright pink and gold manicure. The ring and little fingers are painted with a vibrant fuchsia shade, while the middle finger has a pale pink base and gold flecks along one side and the index finger is covered in gold glitter for a glamourous look.

14. reverse French tips

Switch up the classic and sophisticated French tip manicure with this reverse French tip design. The nails have been painted in a natural pale pink shade and then a swipe of gleaming gold is added to the base of the nail in a crescent shape to create this reverse French tip design.

15. green Glitter

We love this sparkling, attention-grabbing manicure that works perfectly on short nails. The ring finger is painted with green glitter that really twinkles under the light, while the rest of the nails have a pink base and are decorated with a green French tip or a green, glittery wave design.

16. Lilac shimmer

This manicure has a simple yet glamorous look, with the addition of shimmery polish. Three nails are painted in a glossy lilac shade, while the other two are painted with a shimmering purple polish that glints in gold for an eye-catching, opulent look.

17. Chic Sparkles

White and pink short nail designs with glitter.

via @merlin nails

These nails have a chic and stylish look, while the glitter adds a little extra sparkle to the minimalist nails. All the nails are painted in a neutral, rosy pink shade, except for the ring finger which has a white base and is decorated with multicolored glitter that fades out as you move up the nail.

18. Iridescent French Tips

Holographic black short French tip nails.

via @jessicawashick

Add an unexpected shimmery touch to a classic French tip design with an iridescent top coat. The nails have a bare base and a thick black French tip and then are finished with an iridescent top coat that adds a subtle blue-green shimmer to the nails – just incredible!

19. Glamorous Grey

Grey is the perfect winter shade and this manicure shows you how to add a glamorous touch to this classic, neutral shade. All the nails are painted in a glossy dark grey shade, apart from the ring finger, which has a white base and is decorated with a swipe of pink polish at the base and silver glitter and grey polish at the tip.

20. Black Hearts

This black and gold nail design really catches your attention and is ideal if you are after a striking design on your short nails. The base is painted with a sheer pale pink polish and then decorated with gleaming gold foil, on top of which sits a bold black heart to create a statement manicure.

21. Pink shimmer + Glitter

These pink nails have a glam look with shimmer and glitter finishes that add an extra special touch to the manicure. Three nails are painted with a shimmery pink polish while the other two have a pink glitter base, which fades out into the white polish as you move up the nail.

22. Green Florals

This manicure is perfect for the spring months when you want to add a little color and a floral touch to your nails. The index and little fingers are painted with a shimmering green polish, then the middle and ring fingers have a nude base and are decorated with green and brown florals – so pretty!

23. Shades of green

Go for a tonal look by mixing different shades of the same colors, just like this all-green manicure. Three fingers are painted with different shades of green, while the ring and little fingers have an ivory base, then the ring finger is decorated with gold foil and a green leaf design.

24. Cloudy Skies

We think this manicure is just what you need for the spring months, perhaps as you are preparing for a summer vacation! Each of the nails has been painted with a pale blue base and then decorated with soft, white, fluffy clouds, apart from the index finger which has a little white plane jetting off into the skies.

25. Dots + Stripes

Black and white minimalist short nail designs.

via @irina_rain

This stunning nail design has a sleek and sophisticated look, making it the perfect manicure that will suit a wide range of outfits, both casual and smart. The glossy white base of each nail is decorated with either a black dot or a horizontal stripe across the middle of the nail.

26. Pink Aura Nails

We absolutely love aura nails at the moment, just like these pink nails you see above. The nails begin with a natural or white base and then are decorated with a pink circle, where the color is denser in the middle and fades as you reach the edges of the nails, creating a simple but stylish manicure.

27. Blue Ombre

We often see ombre designs that fade from the base to the top of the nails, but why not switch it up with an ombre that moves across the nails?

This blue design is just perfect, beginning with a dark blue on one side of the nails and fading to a pale blue on the other side of the nail. The blue shade is beautiful, but you could choose any color for this design.

28. Forest green Sparkles

We love the range of shimmering and sparkling designs within this emerald green manicure!

The nails are painted with a forest green base and then left plain or decorated with a pattern, including a green glitter geometric design and a white sparkles design – the accent nail stands out as it is painted in gold glitter, contrasting the rest of the nails.

29. Marble Designs

Short light grey ombre nail designs with glitter.

via @nail_sunny

This marble design is gorgeous, while the silver glitter adds a little glamour to these chic nails. The nails are painted in shades of pale grey and white, apart from the ring finger which has a grey and white marbled design, and the little finger which is covered in sparkling silver glitter – so stunning!

30. Sophisticated Pale pink

If you love a neutral manicure, go for this elegant nude beige and pink nail design. The nails are painted in a glossy nude beige tone, except for the ring finger, which has a pale pink base and is decorated with waves, curves, and dots in beige, white, and gold, adding an extra special touch to a simple manicure.

31. Black Crescents

Short nails can be just as striking as long nails, as proven by this bold black crescent design. The nails have a gloss bare base and then one side of the nail is painted black, with a crescent edge, giving the nail a distinctive and eye-catching look.

32. Faded Pastels

These faded pastel shades are a toned-down version of the candy-colored spring shades. Each nail is painted a different pale color, with the same faded, almost sheer look, adding a subtle touch of color to your short nails.

33. Delicate Florals

If you are looking for something a little more feminine and fun, go for this beautiful floral manicure! The nails have a pale pink base and are decorated with flowers around the tip and side of the nails. The flowers are in pastel shades of blue, purple, and green to be in keeping with the spring aesthetic.

34. Midnight Blue + gold

We love a glamorous and opulent nail design, just like these blue and gold nails. Each nail has a neutral base and is decorated with a different design, including glittering gold accents, shimmering navy blue French tips, and gold chains for a totally dazzling look!

35. Green Touches

If you usually shy away from color in your manicures, why not try out this subtle accent color design? The nails have a glossy, neutral base and then feature a thin swipe of color around the tip of the nail, down the side, and finishing halfway down the base of the nail. The different shades of green look stunning here, but you can choose any color you like.

36. Coral + Iridescent sequins

This manicure looks beautiful, with the glossy coral nails and the iridescent glitter on the accent nail. This is a great way to tie in iridescent polishes, by picking out one of the colors in the glitter, like coral or green, and painting this shade on the rest of the nails.

37. Blue shimmer + glitter

These nails are just incredible and are perfect for any special occasions you may have coming up. The nails are painted with a shimmery light blue shade and then decorated with a swipe of blue glitter at the base of the nails, adding a little extra sparkle to these eye-catching nails.

38. Pearly White

Milky white short acrylic nails

via @metsko_nails

Keep it simple and classic with a glossy white manicure. This white polish is perfect, with a slight pearly pink undertone to soften the stark white shade. These nails will add a polished and refined touch to any outfit.

39. Bronze Sparkles

This manicure is exactly what you need for colder fall months! Three nails are painted with a warm, glossy brown shade – almost the color of hot chocolate – while the other two nails are painted with a bronze-toned glitter that really sparkles in the light.

40. Chrome Details

This silver nail design is a great idea if you don’t want to commit to a full chrome manicure but still love this trend. The nails have a glossy, natural base and each features a silver chrome detail in an abstract shape that sits at the tip of the nail or flows down the side – we love that each nail has a different and distinctive look.

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