7 Fresh Ways To Nail The Negative Space Manicure Trend

Chic, trendy, and easy.

Betina R. Goldstein/Instagram
Negative space manicure ideas for spring.

Good news — the latest nail art trend taking over social media is actually, legitimately, honestly easy to DIY. (Seriously.) Meet negative space manicures for spring, the nail polish look that embraces squiggly lines, imperfect shapes, and “happy little accidents,” to borrow from the wisdom of Bob Ross. Better yet? Nearly any nail art trend you’ve already perfected can be amplified by adding in negative space. Love a cow print? Do it on top of bare nails. Finally figure out how to dot on a daisy? Paint the florals on just your nail tips, leaving the rest of the look blank.

It’s a trend that goes by multiple names, too, seeing as there are plenty of ways to go about it: abstract nail art, minimalist swirls, line art, and any number of decades, including the ‘70s and the ‘90s. (Remember blocky, colorful ‘90s graphic design? This trend can include that look.) Popsugar’s Jessica Harrington even called it “Pucci nail art,” seeing as some of the looks resemble designer Emilio Pucci’s work.

Regardless of how you approach it, and if you use your bare nails or a nude nail polish, one thing remains the same: Just make sure you leave some negative space. Below, seven different ways to approach the negative space nail art trend.

Negative Space Manicures For Spring: Abstract Art

Wavy lines, swirling shapes, and abstract designs have blown up on social media. Fans love it because it’s almost impossible to mess up; any look you create works.

Negative Space Manicures For Spring: Quirky Tips

Create your standard French tip — either in a traditional white or a fun color — then add on your favorite design, keeping it just on the shade and not on the lower part of your nail. (Nail art stickers also work if you’re short on time.)

Negative Space Manicures For Spring: Luxe Lines

This expensive-looking manicure comes courtesy of celebrity nail artist Chaun Legend, but you can DIY a similar look at home if you pick up some striping tape for nails.

Negative Space Manicures For Spring: Lava Lamp

Another Bob Ross-esque look — and another hit from Legend — this design only uses one pop of color against a neutral base to create interesting contrast.

Negative Space Manicures For Spring: Cow Girl

Despite its popularity, cow print nails are actually easy, since the design is naturally splotchy and imperfect. A thicker glossy top coat will seal everything in once you’re finished.

Negative Space Manicures For Spring: Slender Swirls

Alright, this one looks complicated — but it’s doable as long as you pick up a thin nail art brush instead of trying to use the one that comes with a polish. Plus, you don’t have to actually spell out any words; start with just getting your swirl technique right.

Negative Space Manicures For Spring: Stickers & Appliques

Bring out your nail stickers. For this look, use a sticker or some other applique right on top of nude nails for the trend without all the hassle.