Easy Spring Nail Designs for Celebrating Warmer Weather

If you're ready to start browsing (or practicing) nail designs for spring 2022, check out these creative ideas.

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Photo: Maryna Terletska

Sure, a clairvoyant rodent has declared that winter weather will linger this year, but that doesn't mean you need to delay any plans to start transitioning your nail art for spring. If you're already counting down the days until the start of the season, you can absolutely put your spring fever to use planning spring nail designs.

If you're curious what shades will be in favor this spring, you can expect to see lavender and chartreuse taking over as some of the top nail color trends for 2022. You might incorporate either into a simple swirl design or French tip, or go with the classic spring nail designs that make a return each year, e.g. miniature butterflies, flowers, or citrus fruits. You're only limited by your imagination (and the dimensions of a pretty small canvas).

Whether you want to get a head start or wait for the official start of spring to retire winter-inspired art, it doesn't hurt to start scouting out some fresh ideas in advance. Here are some nail designs for the spring to consider for upcoming manicures, plus everything you need to know to pull them off at home. (

Gingham Nails

If there's one pattern that screams "spring," it's the red and white gingham check that you'd find on a classic picnic blanket. Whether or not you have any intention of dining al fresco, you can bring the instantly-recognizable pattern to your nails by following these steps from New Jersey-based nail artist Samantha Gowe.

  1. Prep and shape nails as desired.
  2. Apply two to three coats of a white polish to all of your nails — enough to create an opaque layer of color. Let dry.
  3. Dip a striper brush into a light pink jelly polish, such as Butter London Strawberry Rhubarb Jelly Treatment (Buy It, $12, target.com). Paint on three horizontal stripes and three vertical stripes. The stripes should overlap to create a grid pattern. Let dry.
  4. Dip a detail brush into a red polish such as Butter London Her Majesty's Red (Buy It, $18, amazon.com). Paint a square over each area where the pink stripes intersect. Let dry.
  5. Apply a top coat and let dry.

Abstract Nail Art

Adorning your nails with paint strokes is one way to channel your inner artist. The beauty of this spring nail design is that you don't have to be too precious about it — the layered paint strokes are meant to look imperfect. Here's how Long Island, New York-based celebrity nail artist Elle Gerstein achieved the look.

  1. Prep and shape nails as desired.
  2. Apply two coats of a nude nail polish. Let dry.
  3. Add a nail polish color of choice to a palette. Saturate a separate clean nailbrush in the polish, then swipe the brush onto the palette to remove some of the polish. Paint a few short brush strokes onto each nail.
  4. Repeat step three with additional colors, using a fresh brush each time or cleaning the brush in between. Continue to layer brush strokes on top of each other until nails are covered in brush strokes. Let dry.
  5. Apply a top coat and let dry.

Negative Space Swirl

This design combines two trends: negative space (i.e. leaving color off of part of your nail) and curvy lines. Gowe went with a bright coral shade, but you could also use pistachio, creamsicle, or any other spring-friendly color you're loving ATM. (

  1. Prep and shape nails as desired.
  2. Apply two coats of a sheer, soft pink shade, such as Essie Sugar Daddy (Buy It, $9, target.com) and let dry.
  3. Using your favorite Spring shade (Essie Cute As a Buttonis pictured above), paint one or two swirly lines onto one nail. Repeat on each nail, creating a different swirl pattern on each nail and let dry. Tip: If the bottle brush is wide, use the short side of the brush with light pressure as you paint the swirls to create a more narrow line and to allow for more "negative space."
  4. Clean up the edges, removing of any excess polish with an angled nail brush dipped in nail polish remover.
  5. Apply a top coat and let dry.

Negative Space Tips

For an elegant vibe, try this negative space design from Gerstein. To achieve the perfect dot accent, you can use a dotting tool dipped in polish or adhere a rhinestone with adhesive, as shown above. Either way, you'll achieve cute spring nail art that you'll look forward to showing off.

  1. Prep and shape nails as desired.
  2. Apply a base coat and let dry.
  3. Dip a liner brush in a purple nail polish such as Emilie Heathe Big Night Out (Buy It, $28, nordstrom.com). Paint a thin line across each nail just below the tip. Fill in the space between the line and the tip of the nail. Let dry.
  4. Dip a dotting tool into a cobalt blue nail polish, e.g. Le Chat Dare to Wear Into the Deep(Buy It, $10, amazon.com) and create a dot at the border between the color and negative space, at the center of each nail. Let dry.
  5. Apply a top coat and let dry.

Marble Nail Art

You can't go wrong with a dreamy, marbleized manicure that incorporates complementary spring-appropriate shades. The trick to a marbled look is to apply multiple colors and swirl them together using a detail brush. Here are more specifics on how Melinda Carrillo, a nail artist at Pear Nova Studio in Chicago, achieved the above spring nail design. (Note: Carillo used gel polish, but you can follow the same steps with regular polish, allowing your nails to dry rather than curing them under a UV light as indicated.)

  1. Prep and shape nails as desired.
  2. Apply a base coat and cure.
  3. Apply one coat of a baby pink-nude shade such as Pear Nova Lunar Halo Gel Lacquer (Buy It, $21, pearnova.com) and cure un UV light.
  4. Apply a second coat of the pink-nude shade but do not cure. Apply a coat of a light blue shade such as Pear Nova Periwinkle Gel Lacquer (Buy It, $21, pearnova.com), skipping the pinky fingers. Dot a light green color, e.g. Pear Nova Herticulture Gel Lacquer (Buy It, $21, pearnova.com) on top of the blue nails. With a detail brush, swirl the blue and green shades to achieve a marble look, then cure.
  5. Apply a top coat and cure.

Speckled Skittles Manicure

One of the easiest spring nail designs to try, this technique transforms your fingernails into mini speckled eggs. Go with a classic robin's-egg blue or try a Skittles (i.e. mismatched) manicure, as Gowe showed off above. (

  1. Prep and shape nails as desired.
  2. Apply two coats of a pastel shade to one nail. Repeat on other nails, using a different color on each nail. Let dry.
  3. Dip a small detail brush into black polish, wipe off excess paint, and lightly tap the brush all over each nail to create speckles. Don't worry about making the speckles look uniform — they should vary in thickness. Let dry.
  4. Apply a matte top coat and let dry.
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