40 Chic Minimalist Nail Designs For Your Next Manicure

Once upon a time, anyone looking for a simple manicure would have likely chosen between the classics: a French manicure or nude polish. Since then, we've come a long way when it comes to nail design and nail art. Those who are looking for something chic and minimalist, but definitely not basic, now have endless options to choose from.

Whether you're feeling a unique finish, a twist on a French mani, or subtle texture, nail artists today are creating some incredibly unique, stunning, and inventive designs that can still give you that simple feel you want, with a twist. And a minimalist manicure is always in style, according to OPI brand ambassador Georgia Rae (via Who What Wear). "Fresh neutrals are timeless," she said. "Clean cuticles, nourished skin and a thin layer of a sheer nude to complement your skin tone will remain a trend in 2022."

Celebrities and influencers alike have made bold, bright, super-long nails uber-popular. (We're looking at you, Kar-Jenners.) But pearlescent "glazed donut" manicures made popular by Hailey Beiber have definitely elevated the minimalist nail trend. LA-based nail artist Zola Ganzorigt, who created the now iconic nail look, told CNN that she sees the trend lasting. "Since it's really neutral, minimalist and chic, I can definitely see that these nails will be around." 

Looking for inspiration for your next trip to the nail salon? We've gathered 40 chic nail design looks that will prove minimalism doesn't have to mean boring.

Glazed donut nails

Ganzorigt's now-viral glazed donut nails popularized by Hailey Bieber have quickly become one of the most sought-after nail trends of the season. Ganzorigt created the look by first applying a coat of OPI Gel Color in Funny Bunny before adding a top coat of OPI Chrome Effects in Tin Man Can to give the nails a shiny effect. We definitely agree that this trend is going to be around for a long time.

Diamond dust cuffs

Celebrity nail artist Betina Goldstein originally created this gorgeous and simple-yet-dramatic manicure for actress Julia Garner to wear to the 2021 Met Gala. We love how this look incorporates just a small amount of silver glitter which undoubtedly adds a punch of glamour to an otherwise nude manicure.

White-on-white

Nail artist to the stars Tom Bachik created this stunning white-on-white design for longtime client Jennifer Lopez to wear during her wedding to Ben Affleck this summer. This milky white, monochromatic manicure with custom, minimalist nail art is perfect for anyone who wants to elevate their manicure with subtle, barely there designs.

Just a touch of sparkle

If you want to stay away from overly bejeweled nails but still like a little bit of sparkle and shine, you don't have the ditch the jewels completely. We love this placement of one lone jewel at the center of the base of each nail. Adding the stone to a natural nail lets the solitary jewel pop without feeling over-embellished.

Fresh as a daisy

By adding a few small daisies to your neutral manicure you can instantly create a completely different vibe. We love how this nail artist varies the look by adding a small bunch of flowers to one nail, but individual flowers on others. You can also play around with the placement of the flowers, adding as many or as few as you like to give a small pop of color and whimsy to your manicure.

Embrace the shine

You don't have to add bright, bold colors or even nail art to elevate your manicure. If you're looking for a way to add a bit of shine to your nails without glitter or jewels, this chrome finish is ideal. It gives you a chic look while still being simple. It's perfect for a special occasion, a night out, or everyday wear. The chrome finish can be applied to any base coat color. 

Make it marble

You can elevate your pink mani from classic to dreamy by adding a touch of marble print. We love how the subtle blending of the white polish and the pink create a marble look without being too bold. You can still rock the neutral shade you love while adding a touch of personality.

It's all in the details

This manicure features just a touch of gold accents layered on a splash of pastel polish, all on top of a neutral base. The pastel colors are understated and the tiniest bits of the gold leaf make this manicure the belle of the Spring ball. If you wanted to keep your nails more neutral, the gold alone would still be a perfect addition.

Modern French

We love this take on the classic French manicure. Instead of painting the tips white, a fine line of glitter creates an elegant curve atop a neutral base. It takes the look from classic to unique. It is eye-catching and versatile and can be worn for a night out, to the office, or to the school pickup line.

Dot it up

It's clear that the French manicure has provided a lot of inspiration for nail artists to create new and inspiring looks. If glitter isn't your thing, add a few silver polka dots along the curve of your nail, between the natural coat and the pale white tips of your manicure. This creates a classically unique look that is not too flashy.

White swirls

Adding some white swirls to a nude base allows you to keep your nails understated with just a bit of patterned flare. The simplicity of this design works for those who prefer to keep their nail art more subdued but still want to have a bit of fun with it all. You can keep the nail art white to keep the look more neutral or experiment with different colors if you are feeling adventurous.

Stripe it up

Who said that a French manicure has to be boring? Adding some unexpected and delicate mini stripes to your white tips is a fun and exciting update that doesn't overpower the manicure. If you're someone who doesn't want too much color on their nails but still wants to create a unique look, this may be exactly what you're looking for.

A pop of color

Minimalism doesn't have to mean you're limited to only wearing nude or pale pink nail polish. We love how this manicure adds just the right amount of color by outlining the nail tip in a gorgeous royal blue. With just this simple outline you're not overwhelming the nail. Instead, you're adding just the right amount of color to make a statement.

Naturally nude

Nothing beats a classic, nude polish for the ultimate chic, minimalist look. The perfect shape, the perfect nail length, and the perfect shade make this nude manicure anything but boring. A basic manicure featuring a neutral shade will never go out of style as it can complement any look.

Ombré French manicure

As we've seen, there are endless ways to update the classic French manicure. We love how this ombre effect truly elevates the look. This manicure will work for anyone who loves the classic French manicure but wants to stay away from any harsh lines that you typically get. The ombré effect really softens the look.  

Rose gold chrome tips

We know that chrome nails have become a huge trend lately, but if all that shine is too much for you, what about simply adding chrome to your tips? We love how this rose gold chrome adds just the right amount of shine and drama to your manicure. It's a great option for fall.

Gold cuffs

Nail artists today are truly using the entire nail to display their art and elevate even a basic manicure. We can't get enough of it! While we used to only see the tips of the nail being highlighted, this look featuring gold cuffs adds a new and unique sparkle to your manicure, while still maintaining its understated feel.

Frosty swirls

If you love the idea of adding a bit of sparkle to your manicure but don't want to add it to the tip or cuff, why not give this frosty swirl look a try? Adding a swirl of glitter along with a more intense milky base color gives this minimalist manicure a sweet and feminine update.

Pink and nude swirls

For anyone who loves the simplicity of classic shades of pink and nude polishes but still want to add a bit of excitement to your manicure, this nail art is a creative alternative. Featuring a variety of pink and nude hues swirled along the nail and defined by a white outline, this manicure may be just what you're looking for.

Neon tip with a twist

This manicure takes the traditional French manicure and gives it a twist. Not only are the tips a shade of neon green but the polish also outlines one side of the nail. The pastel green is pale enough to satisfy every minimalist and extending the line down the nail gives the whole look a cool, updated feel.

The reverse French

Inspiration can come from anywhere, which is why we love this look of a reverse-style French manicure. With a style like this, the options are endless. Swapping the typical natural color base polish for the white that usually adorns the tip of the nail is a clever way to update this classic look, but adding colorful micro-tips lets you add a pop of color without being too bold.

Pinkish nude

You can still embrace your love of pink and nude polishes without opting for the same shades every time you get a manicure. Choosing a brighter, more vibrant shade of pink or nude allows you to change up your manicure without going overboard and still embracing your love for a minimalist look.

Classic French

French manicures are a classic for a reason — they'll truly never go out of style. While we love the classic mani, we also love how it's been updated over the years. This squared-off look, featuring just a micro-tip, makes this manicure different from the typical oval- or round-shaped tip. Sometimes you can keep the style you love and just change a few key elements to get a completely different vibe.

Gold flakes

When you truly want to embrace a 'less is more' style when it comes to your manicure but you don't want a simple look, gold flakes may give you the look you're going for. We love how the tiny addition of gold flakes across each nail takes this manicure from simple and lovely to WOW!

Abstract art

These nails featuring various abstract shapes are a great option for those looking for an unexpected style. The look is still classic and clean while being completely different and interesting at the same time. Each hand is still anchored by one classic French manicured nail, while artistic license is applied to the rest of the hand.

Neon ombré French

Put a twist on your French manicure in more ways than one. In addition to highlighting the French tip by having it painted more on an angle than the traditional rounded tip, the colors of the tips are painted in an ombré pattern, with the tip colors gradually getting lighter on each nail.

3D accents

You don't have to be Jennifer Lopez to rock a manicure like this simple and stunning one created by celebrity manicurist Tom Bachik. He gave these gorgeous nude nails a modern flare by adding white accents to frame the nail and using 3D flowers for some added texture and fun. Topping it off with a matte coat makes this look even more chic.

Two-tone black

Talk about chic! This nail artist incorporated two different finishes on this manicure to totally elevate the look of this anything-but-basic black polish. Adding a design in a gloss coat of the same color as the matte base gives this minimalist manicure a completely luxe feeling while also remaining understated.

Chrome nails with whimsy

Chrome nails are certainly one of the hottest nail trends right now. This sweet look is a way to add just a bit of whimsy and artistry to your chrome manicure. This nail art adds a sweet floral embellishment on just one nail per hand in colors that complement the chrome base so as to remain subtle.

Draw a line

Taking your manicure from classic to chic minimalist is easy by incorporating a basic thin black line. The design is simple, yet graphic, and is delicate enough to not overpower your nails. It truly makes a clean, solid-colored manicure interesting and creates an entirely different look.

Add some sparkle

If you don't want to add shapes or different colors to your manicure but you still want to do something more than just a basic solid color, this shimmering top coat in a beautiful nude/pink is perfection. It's elegant enough for a night out yet still classic enough for everyday wear.

Classic ombré

This gorgeous ombré polish treatment takes a regular manicure and instantly makes it more modern and stylish. The ombré technique can work with any color, but true minimalists will love how it looks using this pale pink polish that gradually fades to white.

Pink and white French

Here is another take on the traditional French manicure. A typical French manicure features a very natural, almost nude base with traditional white tips but this one leans into color a bit more with a very pink base. This helps make the white tips pop even more while still being simple enough for those who prefer a more low-key nail look.

Holiday minimalism

We love this Christmas-themed nude manicure with just a touch of glitter, accented with white snowflakes. Everyone should be able to express their love of the holidays through their nail art and this design is perfect for those who aren't fans of the brighter reds, golds, and greens typically used at the time.

All that glitters is gold

This beautiful manicure is enhanced by the addition of gorgeous gold dots. The placement and number of dots vary by each nail, giving the manicure a unique, customized look. Off-white manicures don't have to be boring when you can use some creativity to add luxe additions like this.

Designer nails

Men have also appreciated nail art and this matte blue base with a single jewel on each nail is a great way to dress up any outfit, especially for a night out. This look was taken one step further with the addition of designer Tommy Hilfiger's signature plaid painted on one solitary nail.

French outline

This is an interesting spin on the French manicure and we love it. Instead of painting the full nail tip white, this look simply incorporates an outline of where the traditional white tip would be, leaving negative space between to showcase the nail's natural base color. It's clean and crisp, yet totally unexpected.

Liquid metal

We love a look that lets you showcase a bit of creativity on your nails without it being overwhelming. These liquid metal-looking accents, created using liquid chrome polish, add just the right touch of drama to this nude base. This is definitely a look that can take you from day to night.

The double French

If you already love the classic French manicure, why not try it doubled? Cuffed nails are definitely on trend this season so painting both the tip and around the cuticle gives this classic look an updated feel. You can stick with the traditional white tips or get adventurous and choose a different color, or colors, for this manicure.

Simple elegance

Even the small addition of nail art can turn a clean, simple manicure into something understated and elegant. This clean, silver line painted just above the cuticle is such a chic play on the cuffed nail trend while still being totally different. If you love the look of a nude manicure but still want to have a bit of fun with it, this is a great option.