All The Manicure Inspo That Proves You Can Still Have Tons Of Fun With Practical, Short Nails

It feels like every time we scour the internet for cute nail art ideas, the nails we see just get longer and longer. But what if we told you that it's totally possible to have shorter, more natural and practical nails and still rock some super gorgeous nail art designs?

Short nails are officially making their way back, and that means plenty of ideas popping up for how to make your more workable talons look their best — because shorter manicures most certainly do not have to be basic! "The size of the canvas does not matter. Short nails or long nails, you could still have beautiful trendy looks," celebrity nail artist Vanessa Sanchez McCullough told TZR. But how do you dress up shorter nails? Well, get ready to feel a sudden urge to book a manicure, because is sharing some of our favorite fun and fabulous looks for short nails.

Focus on the tip

A super cute way to dress up your shorter nails is to focus on the tip. One example is to put a super fun twist on the French manicure, by rocking a nude on the nail bed but changing things up with something bright and neon on the ends. It's simple, but certainly not basic. If you want to save some money and do this simple yet super effective look at home, you could try a sponge hack or even French manicure stickers to get the curve just right.

Bring on the love

How cute is this black and neutral nail art? Proving that the accent nail is still very much in fashion, this look shows how you can add a super cute heart to your nail art even if your nails aren't very long. For those who want their talons to look like they're a little bit lengthier, opting for an extra shiny top coat will do the trick — minus all the hassle that can come with super long nails.

A floral nail bed

While some may believe that nail art doesn't work well on shorter nails, this mint blue creation proves there are endless possibilities when it comes to dressing up your petite talons. This pretty and classy design includes two fully blue nails, as well as intricate designs on the middle three fingernails. The latter includes matching blue tips and three flower petals stemming from the nail bed. 

Pinking of a manicure

For those looking to bring out their girly side, you can't get much more traditionally feminine and cute than this. Perfect for summer, the baby pink block nails are giving us obsessed with the Barbie vibe, while the multi-colored hearts bring a little extra dose of fun to the middle fingernail. The best part is, you can easily recreate this look at home by dipping the end of a bobby pin into your nail polish, creating three dots (two at the top and one below) and joining them together.

Watermelon sugar

Another summer-inspired short nail look involves turning your talons into the hot weather's must-have fruit: the watermelon, of course! This one's ideal for all of the Harry Styles fans and it's also a super fun way to bring a little something extra to your nail look, even if you don't have a lot of room to play with. All you need to do to achieve this look is create a green tip over a pink base and dot a few black seeds using a small nail art brush. How easy is that?!

Geometric glamour

Why not bring a little geometric element to your nails? This super striking blue manicure shows how easily you can incorporate some linework into your shorter nails but still be super eye-catching at the same time. Because there's not a whole lot of space, just creating a few lines over the nail is a super easy way to bring some fun without having to be too intricate. And the addition of the darker and lighter shades of blue on the accent nail add some light and shade.

Matte and shine

We can't lie — we're kind of obsessed with this darker but oh-so-glam look. This short nail look makes use of the matte nail trend — but with a major twist. Instead of keeping things totally devoid of shine, iridescent specs were added onto the tops of the nails, which gives the manicure a super interesting juxtaposition we can't get enough of. This is perfect for those who maybe want to try something a little darker, but still want to show off some shine.

A case of the blues

If you can't decide exactly what design you want on your nails, this makes it very clear that you don't have to pick just one — no matter how short your nails are. For this particular nail design, multi-colored flowers with glitter-filled centers are a standout feature. Another key facet is the elegant swirl on the middle fingernail, which works to tie everything together and bring a little extra sparkle at the same time.

Go chrome

If you're not into intricate nail art, that's totally fine, because there are also plenty of fun ways to dress up your fingernails with a simpler nail polish. Chrome is trending right now in the nail world, and this stunning light pink manicure — with hints of orange sparkles and a brighter pink — proves that you don't need many designs on your nails to make a statement. Something like this is absolutely perfect if you have super short nails, as there's no minimum amount of space you need, but it'll still dazzle in the light.

A beachy look

This vacation-inspired nail art design doesn't need to be worn on a beach, but it definitely gives us the vibe of spending a sunny day on the sand. The starfish design on the accent nail is perfect for summer, and the bright coral used on the other nails makes us want to lie on a sun lounger with a margarita. If bold coral isn't your thing, though, you can go your own way. Why not keep it bright with yellow or choose an ocean-like shade of blue as your block nail color?

Add some curves

Another way you can still have fun with short nails is by incorporating some fun stripes into your look. Here, it's the middle fingernail that has something different going on, though each nail is still on trend and on theme. One of the big benefits of creating swirls like these that stretch from your nail bed to the tip is that they'll make your talons look a little bit longer, plus you could recreate this look with any colors you want.

3D accessories

Traditionally, nail accessories have been reserved for super long talons, but that's the case no more! This look is proof that anyone can add accessories to their nails no matter how long or short they are. Plus, we just can't get enough of this stunning shiny heart decoration. And you don't need to tone down the design of your other nails just because one nail has a stand-out design element. The shimmery blue blobs over the nude base on the index and ring fingernails adds a little extra something that we totally love.

Make it holographic

A holographic nail look is another option, as it's a great way to really dress up your manicure without actually having to do too much. As this shows, it also looks just as good on short nails as it does long. There are a few ways to recreate this look depending on which products you like the most, as you could go for gel, powder, or even a traditional polish to show off your shimmery rainbow.

Make use of magnets

Another fun design you can do on any nail set, no matter how short they may be, is the magnet trick. In case you're not familiar with the notion, there are plenty of polishes on the market that come with a magnet to create an almost frosty effect, which you can customize to your own preference. Because you need barely any surface area at all to make this idea look great, it's perfect for our short-nailed queens who want to dress things up without having to do too much.

Perfect your nail look with pearls

There are countless stunning nail looks that incorporate pearls — but they're certainly not just for those with very long fingernails. Of course, exactly how long you want your manicure to be will determine how many pearls you can fit into your look — but no matter how much square footage you're working with, you can still get in on this trend even with just a few of these timeless accessories placed on your nails.

Make it magical

You might think that smaller nails mean incorporating only small specks of glitter into your manicure, but that's certainly not the case. Bigger, chunkier glitter polishes look just as good on short manicures, and you can even combine the two to create an eye-catching and glamorous look like this one. This design almost creates a glitter gradient, with chunky glitter on the middle fingernail that fades out across the ring and index fingernails. Magical!

Stun and swirl

We've already learned that having short nails doesn't mean you can't make use of 3D nail accessories, and this look makes it pretty clear you don't have to forego a little texture on the nail, either. This almost mind-boggling eclectic design looks absolutely stunning on shorter nails. You can recreate this look yourself by applying different chrome shades underneath a hardening, clear top coat — the latter of which should be used to create psychedelic swirls atop each nail. 

Marvel with marble

It's time to bring a little pastel to your short nail look, but certainly not in a boring way. This nail look mixes light purple, blue, pink, green, and yellow together to create a breathtaking marble effect that makes each fingernail totally unique, but still cohesive. If your nails are a little wider than they are long, you could customize this idea by having your marble swirls stretch horizontally across the nail rather than vertically.

Dark and shiny

For those who aren't afraid to wear black on their nails, this dark design is not only super glossy but also gives us total autumnal vibes with the dazzling chunks of orange, yellow, and green glitter on the middle and ring fingernails. If you wanted to go all out and really embrace the sparkle, you could put the glitter chunks on every nail, or even confine it to just one if you're feeling more of a singular accent nail.

Opt for ombré

Yes, ombré is still having a bit of a moment in the nail world, but you don't have to have the longest nails to make it work. The way to make this look work on a petite manicure is by focusing on fewer colors and giving them a smaller surface area rather than trying to squish multiple colors onto your nails. This idea proves you can fit at least three colors onto one shorter nail, with each shade only taking up a few millimeters of space from the nail bed to the end of the nail. To put your own twist on the look, you could have an ombré effect going vertically across the nail.

Like a lightning bolt

How fun is this bold nail idea incorporating several lightning bolts onto the fingernails? If you like a more neutral base color for your nail art, this muted and cool grey makes a great alternative to the standard skin color shades. We particularly love the way the lightning bolt on the thumbnails has been outlined in silver glitter for a little extra electricity and sparkle, while the same shade has been incorporated on the accent nail to highlight the nail bed. If you wanted a little extra something, you could try doing the bolts in metallic.

Get glittery

As part of another eye-catching glittery look, this design involves full-on sparkle on every other nail, while the index and ring fingernails are trimmed in glitter along the edge of the nail bed and the tip. The turquoise color used here gives us total mermaidcore vibes (which many people are currently rocking), though you can create this look with any glitter color you want.

Dark sparkle

Opting for a dark manicure doesn't mean you have to choose a full on black design, because there are most certainly ways to darken things up without completely switching to the dark side. This dark blue looks absolutely mesmerizing with silver glitter atop. Plus, a dark base coat with some sparkle on top will have the same effect on your nails whether you're polishing a short nail or a long nail.

Matte up the military

Not everyone is into super glossy, sparkly nails, so if you're one of those people who doesn't really buy into the glitz and glamour, why not opt for the opposite and bring something different to your manicure? This army-inspired aesthetic brings a matte element to your nails — and the camouflage design adds some fun to the flat black and green nails it's next to.

Perfect polka dots

There are not many designs more fun than polka dots, which makes them a solid choice for anyone with shorter nails who's looking to spice up their manicure. Because you don't need tons of space to add just a few simple dots to your look, it can be done on any set of nails. And it's really easy, too! You can recreate this look at home by grabbing your favorite nail polish colors, plopping them onto a nail art palette, and then using either a rounded nail art tool or the end of a bobby pin. Why not even put your own spin on this by creating different color spots?