Nailed it! 5 simple (but creative) painted-nail ideas for non nail-painters

I n style (like life) it’s the little things that make an outfit brilliant (or a day great).

I feel like I say this a lot but it’s true and with each new year, the more I truly believe this so it was little wonder then that after spending a good couple of weeks of doing some much needed clearing and decluttering that I stumbled across my collection of nail polishes and decided that A: I wanted to love them again and B: That if I was to love them (and keep them), then I needed to use them and more importantly find new ways to use them.

So without further ado:

Here are 5 simple, minimal painted-nail ideas that I’m inspired by right now – for nail novices (like me) 



(PS: Go easy on me, I don’t normally paint my nails and I’m not trying to be a nail tech. My paint may be wonky and my technique may not be ‘the right way’ but it’s my way and it’s what worked for me, just sharing the inspo 😉

1. Three colours of a similar tone, alternated

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That’s right all you need are 3 tonal colours.

I know this because I started with 5 different colours, before realising that it was way too much hassle and that a more pleasing effect can be achieved by simplifying it to just 3.

Pick your favourite 3 tonal colours which for me was easy as I tend to be drawn to similar shades of the same colour! Then apply each one to your nails, alternating as you go.

2. One chrome statement nail

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RANDOM OBSERVATION: My statement nail always happens to be my ring finger.

I fell in love with this look when I saw it on someone else (isn’t that always the way!). The beautiful thing about it, was that I could do it in my own way, using colours I had.

If you have a true chrome nail polish then you’re away laughing, but fear not, a metallic statement nail in gold or silver is just as effective.

3. Gold geometric shapes on dark nails

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I am in love with simple geometric shapes because A: they are easy to paint (easy to love) and B: they are modern and also timeless.

I chose to paint oblong shapes in gold on top of my dark terracotta base colour but if I were to do this again, I might try painting the accent first and then applying the darker colour.

Each oblong is placed slightly differently (to me that is more interesting to the eye and easier to get away with than having shapes of the same colour and size).

TIP: If painting your accent over the top of the dark colour, you’ll need to let it dry completely before continuing. To get my shapes straight I used green painters tape to mark the area and when applying my accent colour I brushed in towards the centre and away from the tape seal (to prevent colour-bleed). I then let the polish dry completely before removing the tape. 

4. Blush nails with metallic french tips

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This is a fun variation on a french manicure.

I used a blush/nude-pink as my base colour first and let it dry completely before applying a metallic pink french tip.

TIP: To get the shape of a french tip I used the rounded end of a clear plaster to guide me. Note: only use the very end of the plaster as it is very adhesive and thus can pull away your base colour and no-one likes starting all over again mmmk!

5. To the left…A quarter stripe of dark over light

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RANDOM THOUGHT: This colour-way reminds me of Neopolitan icecream (sans the white).

I thought I would finish with something simple that doesn’t involve tape or a plaster but rather a bit of free-styling.

Trust me, if I can paint a fairly straight edge, you can too and I didn’t use a fancy brush, just the brush that comes with the polish.

TIP: Let the light base colour dry completely before applying your dark.  Always start with a minimal amount of colour on the brush and just focus on getting a straight stroke (because thats all this is! One straight stroke). Once you have that, then you can work your way back along the same stroke building up your colour til your happy. 


And there you have it.

Now,  if you were expecting to have your mind blown by my newfound nail artistry skills, you may have been sorely disappointed but I am hoping that you’ll find inspiration in the little seed I planted within this post, which if I’m really honest is all I really want you to take away, in that:

Reinventing your style is as simple as making a decision to take what you have and do more with it.

So, in other words, as simple as these nail ideas may be, they are new ideas to me and ‘new’ ideas are inspiring and sooo refreshing right?

As always thanks so much for stopping by…


Erena Te Paa sig

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