15 Cool Nail Designs I’m Actually Going to Try This Summer


When it comes to manicures, I’ve found that people generally fall into two colour camps: basic but chic (reds, pastels, nudes—you know the drill) or trending nail art be it negative-space manis or glittery topcoats. Personally, cute nail designs like mismatched manis are my idea of beauty heaven, so I fall firmly into the second school of thought, which is why I’m so excited to see that nail art is trending this summer, with all of the fashion set stepping out in bold colours, floral designs and plenty of sparkle.

With so many colourful designs filling up my Instagram feed, I took a careful look through and decided which of them I’m actually going to try this summer. Keep scrolling for my top 15 summer nail-art picks—and to shop the products you’ll need to re-create them at home.

Easily one of the biggest print trends of the past few years, abstract swirls initially began taking over our wardrobes in late 2021, but now, they’re proving even more popular on the nail-art circuit. Choose classic black and white, or for a summery spin, opt for pastel tones. The easiest way to achieve this look is to paint your nails a base colour, and then use a nail brush to drag your chosen nail colour across the nail to create a neat line.

A great option for nail-art newbies—all you need for this summer nail look are five of your favourite nail polish colours. If you want the real cool-girl factor, opt for bright, bold shades, but know that this would look equally chic with muted pastels or neutrals if you want a more pared-back mani.

Floral manicures are definitely having a moment for summer, but Alyssa Coscarelli’s has a fashion-insider edge with real pressed flowers to create this cute effect. While I’m not suggesting we all start sticking dried petals to our nails, you can get a similar effect by painting your nails with an opaque base coat (white is great for accentuating a summer glow) and using a fine nail art brush to paint on mini blooms.

Striped nail art is having a moment, particularly when combined with a rainbow colour palette. From half-moon rainbow stripes to those contrasted with negative space, like the gorgeous example from Betina Goldstein above, I can’t wait to try this look myself. Top tip: Keep the base of your nail completely bare, or opt for a nude shade to let the rainbow stripes really pop.

Turns out glitter isn’t just for party season. So this summer try stepping out with sparkling manicures, with shades like turquoise, pink and silver proving most popular. Apart from being a right pain to take off, there’s something lovely about the way a glitter nail catches the light during sunshine season. If the look feels a little too “9-year-old’s birthday party” for you, try a chunkier glitter over a bare nail for a subtler take.

The days of carefully water-printing newspaper lines onto our nails may be long behind us, but word art still remains one of the coolest summer nail designs out there. It has everything, colour, a personalisable touch and endless font options. 

The thing I love most about this polka-dot nail art (besides how damn chic it looks) is that it’s genuinely so easy to re-create. All you need is a nail-dotting tool—you can pick one up for a couple of pounds on Amazon or eBay—which you dip into your chosen nail polish colour and dot over bare nails. Finish with a glossy topcoat to seal your hard work in place.

Much like the daisy print and polka dot, fruit prints are having a style moment in the worlds of fashion and beauty. I’m not going to lie, I’m not talented enough to re-create this on my own nails, but I’ll definitely be heading to the salon and asking for this style for summer. Meanwhile, you can find some seriously cute fruit nail accessories that can be placed over a coat of wet nail polish and sealed with a topcoat for a similar effect.

Not quite glittery, not quite dotty, but oh so sparkly confetti nails are one of the easy cool nail designs you can opt for this summer. Go for all-over silver as above or fun rainbow hues! My only gripe with this nail design that it does require a bit of elbow grease to remove, but the shimmery pay off is all so worth it.

Fashion insiders are switching up their basic manis with foil tips for summer. This is a great option if you leave lots of time between appointments, as keeping the foil on the tips only means you can swiftly cover up any regrowth with a different shade of nail colour. 

If minimal designs are your bag, this marble design should one should be top of your summer list. A sheer, nude polish with marble brown accents is beyond chic as a summer option if bright hues aren’t quite your style. 

Like fashion trends, nail trends always come back around. One of the bastions of the early 2010s nail art was of course geometric nail art designs. Their perfected precision, the graphic squares and abstract negative space triangles are far from a beginners feat but armed with a handy nail brush, it’s one I’ve bookmarked to try this summer. 

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15 Cool Nail Designs I’m Actually Going to Try This Summer

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