(The Nail File)

Keep It Simple This Summer With These Seasonal & Minimal Manicures

For nails of all shapes and sizes.

simple summer nail ideas

Summer is the season of ease, so it’s completely understandable if you have the sudden urge to pare down your manicures this time of year. However, there is a wide spectrum of options between Cardi B’s crystalized claws and going totally bare. In fact, some seriously simple summer nail ideas actually embrace a ton of current trends — just on a smaller scale.

Take neon nails, for example. You may not be ready to go full-on florescent, but by adding drips, splatters, or even simple lines, you can incorporate bold, trending colors without totally committing. And while you may not believe that “simple” and “3D nails” are two concepts that play well together, but the same idea applies. Tone things down by going monochromatic and/or being selective about where and how much to add. For example, a single small gem on a nude nail is so subtle and chic.

That said, nude nails aren’t the only answer for those seeking simple nail ideas for summer. Still craving bold colors this season? Choose an ombré effect or a dainty design so the overall look is low-key without lacking vibrance.

It takes effort to look effortless, which means even the most minimalist manicures will require a bit of prep and planning. Thankfully, the following 12 simple nail ideas create impact while embracing the ease you desire this season.

Delicate Silver Designs

Want to dabble in nail gems without it feeling too flashy? This minimalist metallic mani in the perfect entry point. Start with a nude nail polish, then add a few ultra-fine silver lines and finish with the teeniest of rhinestone appliqués.

Dainty Dots

This simple manicure encourages you to dabble (literally) with different colors. With a nude base and dainty, multicolored dots, it’s perfect for anyone who wants to taste the rainbow without going bold.

Simple Seashell Nails

Add a bit of texture with a simple seashell design on one or two fingers. The monochromatic pink palette creates a seamless effect that makes the nail art discreet yet chic surprise to discover.

Double French Mani

For a fresh, modern spin on the French manicure, skip the traditional pink-and-white palette and simply paint thin double lines in a contrasting hue (like this minty shade) at the tip. Then add one more to create (or emphasize) a half moon. Keep the rest of the nail nude or bare for this simplest version.

Peachy Chrome

If traditional metallic chromes feel a bit too dramatic for your taste (or simply for the summer season), try out a peach shade instead.

Pastel Splatter

Channel your inner Jackson Pollock — except way more minimal — by adding a few light splatters to your nude nails. Choose a pastel palette for a soft, subdued effect.

Icy Drops

3D nails can be simple, too. Take this water drop manicure, for example. The clear droplets over white pearlescent polish created a textured, but monochromatic effect.

Multicolored Cuffs

Reverse the micro French manicure with colorful cuffs. Instead of emphasizing your tips, paint super fine lines at the very base of your nail. Stick to one shade or mix it up by switching it up on each finger.

Matcha Latte Mani

Your favorite cold beverage just became manicure inspiration. Create an ombré effect with matcha green and white polishes for a frothy, latte-like finish.

Painterly Waves

Looking for a more organic style of mani? These painterly strokes of blue and green over bare nails gives the look of an abstracted landscape (or waves, or a rock formation) and feels totally tranquil.

Orange Crush

Just because your nail art is simple doesn’t mean it has to be subdued in color. This vivid orange manicure, created with a tonal gradient and yellow sunburst designs, is a perfect example. Plus it’s so deliciously summery.

Marble Swirls

With just a few nail polish shades and a bobby pin, you can DIY this mani that’s simple, but not remotely boring.