10 Fall Nail Art Ideas for a Fresh Autumn Manicure
There are some colors that are indelibly associated with fall, like burgundy, berry, hunter green, and rust — the warm hues of the changing leaves and apple orchards. And those shades will always make for classic manicures. But just because they'll never go out of style doesn't mean you have to stick to them and them alone, and with some of our favorite fall nail art ideas, you definitely don't have to wear just one at a time.
With talented nail artists and celebrity-frequented salons sharing inspirational designs on Instagram every single day and beloved polish brands constantly cranking out stunning new colors, there's no shortage of manicure ideas to add to your to-do list for fall nails — including ones you'll feel confident doing yourself.
"My [Instagram] Explore page is filled with abstract manicures where every look is unique and perfected in its own way or very simple, classic looks with a twist, such as a French manicure using neon colors," nail artist Amy Le previously told Allure.
"Lines and dots are the easiest DIY art to create as long as you have the right tools," nail artist Elle tells Allure. "Essentials are toothpicks to create dots, makeup sponges for marbling, and a thin eyeliner brush or paintbrush to create stripes."
Here, you'll find unexpected ways to wear both timeless shades and unexpected shades, as well as DIY-friendly designs and — should you feel ready to head back to your favorite nail salon — intricate styles that call for a professional touch.
Keep scrolling for the looks you'll love to see peeking out of the sleeves of your favorite oversized sweater.
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We love the quilt-like vibes of this colorful yet simple manicure by Betina Goldstein. There are absolutely no rules when it comes to which colors to use — go with any combination of at least six shades that feel the most "fall" to you — and be sure to switch up their order on each finger. Just be sure to use a superfine brush to create clean boxes, like the Doublemoss Arte brush Goldstein used. You can watch how she created this blocky beauty right here.
"If you have a toothpick, you can have sweater nails," says nail artist Miss Pop about her adorable and undeniably cozy-looking manicure. No brush is needed other than the one that comes with your chosen base color's bottle because you can create that cable-knit look with just a tiny wooden tip. Simply paint on a few rows of uniform squiggles — she recommends doing it in a color that really stands out from a dark foundation shade — and you're all set.
If you lived through the '90s, you know that virtually every September issue of any teen or fashion magazine heavily featured plaid as a classic fall pattern. It’s still timeless, but if you're looking for a fresh way to wear it, consider a French manicure with plaid tips. This version by nail artist Savannah Walker of Manifest Nail is especially autumnal, thanks to its warm shades of brown. Although the clear base may make it seem simple, the intricate details within the plaid itself make this design one you'll want to take to a pro.
Perk up an otherwise neutral manicure with a couple more colors on a single nail. This chic look starts with a coat of OPI Nail Lacquer in the red shade Art Walk in Suzi's Shoes. You'll then want to apply the midnight-purple shade Abstract After Dark in three ascending horizontal lines and connect them with a detail brush to create a staircase near the cuticle area, followed by filling them in. Use the detail brush again to apply Espresso Your Inner Self in a similar manner and fill in the rest of the nail with the bottle's brush.
5.Circle of Speckles
Wine will always be a favorite fall nail color, but if you're in the mood for a little more pizzazz, try this easy DIY nail art. Miss Pop simply dotted around the perimeter of each nail — a dotting tool or toothpick both work — with OPI's light pink Another Ramen-tic Evening and shimmery shell Throw Me a Kiss. It completely changes the feel of the sophisticated burgundy shade We the Female.
6.Florals for Fall
Just like leaves drying up on trees can make for a beautiful sight in the fall, so can dried flowers on your fingertips. Elle created this gorgeous look Blake Lively by using Le Chat Perfect Match Smoke Show for an ombré effect, followed by a very sheer coat of the brand's new pale pink shade Simply Me. She then took tiny pressed flowers (a craft store find!) soaked in alcohol and placed them on the nails along with gold and silver foil. Whether you're using traditional or gel polish, just be sure to seal in these three-dimensional elements with the appropriate topcoat.
Silver and gold know no single season, but we're loving the combination of both for a fun fall manicure like this one by Goldstein. Any opaque silver polish will do for the base — Essie's No Place Like Chrome is a great pick — and any opaque golden polish will work for the stars. But if you don't trust your hand to be steady enough to paint on perfect stars, you can always try decals to make it especially easy to achieve this look.
There's no need to bother with nail polish at all when there are such cute, custom-sized stick-on nail gels like these so readily available. ManiMe's L8r G8r set has a fabulous crocodile-print effect — dark-green ovals on both lighter green and golden backgrounds that you can mix and match — that feels both bold and versatile. You can expect the $25 set to last well over a week and look absolutely perfect since they're cut to fit your specific nails.
9.High-Contrast Negative Space
Black nail polish always makes a big comeback every fall, but there are more ways to wear it than as just a solid shade. Miss Pop made black infinitely more interesting by leaving it out in select negative spaces. She painted on thick lines and triangles in different geometric combinations, leaving only glossy bare nails to show through in its absence.
We're completely obsessed with Goldstein's "floating ink" fingernails. She combined ethereal swirls of three Essie shades — Cacti on the Prize, Infinity Cool, and You Know the Espadrille — to create an abstract masterpiece that looks like magical, marbleized stone or paints swimming around in a puddle. No two manicures will look alike, even if you use the same combination of colors.