The Best Nail Art For Short Nails

Whether you're a stay-at-home mom chasing after little ones all day long or you have a hands-on job that requires you to keep your nails short, not everyone can sport long nails—and that’s totally ok! Shorter nails are not only less maintenance than lengthy talons, they’re also way more durable and less prone to breakage. And while you may typically stick to single-color paint jobs due to your shorter tips, you don’t have to—there are plenty of designs that actually look better on more natural nail lengths. Check out our favorite designs for short nails.


Freshly manicured natural nails are beautiful on their own, so there’s no need to cover them up completely with an over-the-top pattern. A quartz pattern adds a modern edge to shorter tips, while the nude base elongates the nail bed.


While an intricate pattern may appear to “overwhelm” a short nail length, a colorful abstract design pops on a tiny canvas. For best results, opt for a pale base, then add painterly strokes in bright complementary shades.

Gradient or Holographic

One easy way to draw attention away from a shorter length? Multi-dimensional tones or designs. Use contrasting polish shades to create a cool ombre effect, or, simply top nails with a holographic hue for an easy, eye-catching look.

Delicate Gems

When it comes to embellishments on shorter nails, less is definitely more. Piling on large, oversized charms will actually draw attention to the lack of length and cause the nail to look short and stubby. Instead, stick to 1-2 elegant gems that make a statement.

Negative Space

Negative space is a top choice for shorter nails as it creates an optical illusion and makes the nail look longer. The best part? The options are endless, whether you choose to paint a single statement line or a bunch of edgy, geometric patterns.

Cover Image Credit: @frecklepusnails