24+ Best Summer Nail Ideas You’ll Want to Try

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We love an extravagant manicure just as much as the next person, but there’s also something incredibly special about a simple set. Sometimes, all we want is to omit all the bells and whistles (like 3D embellishments) and opt for a rich opaque coat or a minimal design. Aside from simplicity, the beauty of a pared-back nail look is that they can easily be tailored to fit any occasion or season—and during the summer, in particular, your options are endless.

From sheer pink to pastel gradient manicures, we’ve gathered 24+ best summer nail ideas that make a subtle statement.

Baby Gem Nails

There are simple ways to add bling to your nails—just take notes from this manicure. Add a tiny nail gem to the tips and cuticles of each nail to subtly enhance the milky base.

Barbie Pink Nails

We’ll never get tired of this magnificent shade of bubblegum pink. It’s so striking that it deserves to shine on its own (no need for nail art here).

Blue Speck Nails

This blue polish is already electric, so it needs no enhancements. But if you want to add a little extra pizzazz, create pastel dots on each nail. Playing around with placement will make the subtle design extra interesting.

Bright White Nails

When in doubt, nothing says simple like a few coats of bright white polish. Plus, a white manicure goes with everything, so it’s a no-brainer for the summer.

Candy Paint Nails

Inspired by tropical Skittles, this colorful set is pretty sweet. The cheery, vibrant color palette is perfect for summer.

Chrome Corner Nails

Enhance your short nails with angular chrome tips. The assortment of vibrant shades keeps the manicure exciting.

Classic French Tips

You can’t discuss simple summer nails without mentioning a classic French manicure. The neutral base and crisp white tips make it such a timeless nail design.

Dried Floral Nails

While handpainted flowers are stunning, there’s nothing like the real thing. This glossy, nude manicure includes a mix of gorgeous dried flowers.

Floral Cuticle Nails

There are so many creative ways to approach cuticle accents—these perfectly painted daisies are a prime example. The multicolor floral designs against the sheer base make for a magical minimalist look.

Glitter Dust Nails

Apply a few coats of your favorite nude pink polish as a base and swipe on a sheer glitter top coat to complete the look. Aside from the shimmer, the beauty of this mani is that it seamlessly blends into your natural nail color, allowing you to stretch the time between appointments.

Gold and White French Tips

Put a dazzling spin on a French manicure by adding a sparkling golden line going up the middle of each tip. The manicure still feels simple but has a hint of glamour to it.

Holographic Glazed Nails

Glazed manicures feel synonymous with summer. Depending on the angle, these pearlescent nails can take on a range of colors, from pink to lilac.

Juicy Coral Nails

Yes, technically, these medium-length nails are simple. However, it’s the polish that gives this mani an edge. The vibrant, juicy shade of coral adds a playful pop of color.

Lime Nails

This shimmery lime manicure combines French tips with solid nails. Mixing the two classic styles allows you to maintain simplicity while creating an interesting flair.

Mellow Yellow Glazed Nails

Yellow manicures are very fitting for summer, reminding us of sunshine and limoncello. The mani’s shiny, glazed finish gives the look an elevated aesthetic.

Mesmerizing Mauve Nails

This mauve polish is soft and neutral, fitting for every occasion. Whether you’re heading to a summer wedding or hitting the beach, you can’t go wrong with this universal shade and shape.

Metallic Moon Nails

With this short manicure, the nude base plays the background while the shimmery, metallic blue crescents steal the spotlight. Simple indeed, but there’s so much in the details.

Micro Dot Nails

With its neutral base, this manicure lets your natural nails shine. However, to add a hint of flair, opt for tiny, colorful dots on each nail.

Natural French Tips

Going for an off-white, frosted tip can make a French manicure even more subtle. It’s such a chic take on the classic mani.

Pastel Gradient Nails

When we think of the ultimate summer color palette, these pastel shades come to mind. Incorporate all of them into your manicure by opting for a different polish on each nail. No designs are needed; the color gradient is the art.

Pastel Orange Tips

Nothing sparks joy quite like a sunny nail polish. Coat your French tips with a pastel orange polish, and you’ll have the perfect summer-ready mani.

Sheer Pink Nails

A barely-there polish works for any season, but we especially love it for summer. This pink polish is so soft that it nearly looks sheer. The ultra-glossy finish adds another level of elegance to the manicure.

Short Pearlescent Nails

Make your short nails shine with a few coats of an off-white polish and a dusting of chrome powder. The iridescent color, coupled with the super short length, makes this a simply stunning mani.

Thin Line Nails

It doesn’t get much more minimalist than this manicure, featuring a glossy, clear base and a thin black line across each nail. It’s simple yet edgy at the same time.

Vibrant French Tips

Put a summery spin on your French manicure by choosing a few bright, colorful hues. This take on the traditional nail design incorporates hot pink, lime green, and yellow.

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