8 Colourful Summer Nail Trends You Can Try at Home, According to Top Nail Artists

There's something about summer that has us suddenly rushing to pick up the nail polish and get creative. Perhaps it's that our social calendar has opened up, holidays are back on the horizon, or we simply want our nails to look as cute as our summer outfits, but we're ready to attempt salon-worthy nails while sitting in the garden.

Once you have the basic equipment (think: base coat, topcoat, a few colours, a nail brush, and even a few accessories), all it requires is imagination, a steady hand, and perhaps a little patience. To help get your creative juices flowing, we asked some of the best nail artists in the UK to share their top trends for the summer. They also gave their top tips for re-creating them so you feel confident about giving them a go.

From easy-peasy, pretty accent nails with a twist (because as nail artist Kate Williamson put it, "we can do better than the classic 2000s ring-finger accent nails") to more intricate designs like those inspired by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, you're sure to find nail-art ideas to suit both your taste and your skill level.

Read on to get some fresh summer nail-art inspiration that we promise will have you tapping into your inner artist in no time.

Summer Nail-Art Trend 2022: Accent Nails With a Twist

One of the simplest ways to jazz up any manicure is with an accent nail. And no, we're not talking about some glitter on your ring fingers. "We can do better than that!" London-based nail artist Kate Williamson says. "Try a middle finger on one hand and little finger on the other. The more asymmetric the design, the better it actually looks. Just trust me on this one," she says. And after seeing this as inspiration, we absolutely do. This is the perfect design if you're a bit new to nail art and bright colours scare you. Williamson recommends keeping the base light and neutral in colour, then adding one nail of gems on either hand.

Summer Nail-Art Trend 2022: Colourful Dried Flowers

Williamson says if there's one thing that'll make nail technicians squeal, it's adding dried flowers to an otherwise simple manicure. "Flowers come in all shapes, sizes, and colours," she says, and there really is no wrong way to do it. "You could create a dainty look using the smallest petals and leaves using a good-quality clear topcoat, or go all out covering a full nail and encapsulating it into gel extensions (as pictured) if you're more experienced."

On your next walk, why not keep your eyes peeled for some teeny-tiny flowers to dry and stick on for your next manicure? Just make sure you're being careful to pick flowers that are wild in abundance before taking them; you don't want any angry neighbours by picking their flowers.

Summer Nail-Art Trend 2022: Rainbow French Manicure
Sadie Jordan

Summer Nail-Art Trend 2022: Rainbow French Manicure

Yep, french manicures aren't going anywhere, and we really aren't mad about it. There are countless ways to get your french-mani fix that don't include a plain white shade. "These pastel ombré tips are a quirky twist on the classic french tip, and if you want something really on trend, try an almond shape (as pictured) and with a deeper, more curved tip," says nail artist Sadie Jordan, who works with start-up Beautystack. Again, if you're a little afraid of bright colour, Jordan suggests shades that are on the lighter, paler end of the colour spectrum. "A combination of a natural or semisheer base with delicate rainbow accents is the recipe for a cute-AF summer nail design."

Summer Nail-Art Trend 2022: Embossed Nails

Over the last few years, embossed nails have emerged as a slowly growing trend. After seeing nail artist Imarni Ashman's Chanel-inspired design back in lockdown, we're still loving this three-dimensional look for summer 2022.

"At the salon, artists tend to use gels and powders to create a really impactful look, but you can do this at home," Ashman tells POPSUGAR. The key is investing in a very fine liner brush, which is how Ashman created the double Cs you see here.

"Most people would assume that this look was created by shaping the CCs out of acrylic, then painting them onto the nail, like 3D art," she explains. "I knew that technique would result in losing the sharp definition of the CCs, so I actually created this look using only Chanel Le Vernis nail colour. After prepping the nail, I painted two layers of the nail polish and then added a topcoat. Next came the creative part. After the polish fully dried, I painted on the CCs with three layers of the same colour polish, using a fine liner brush and being sure to let each layer dry completely in between to create the embossed effect found on Chanel handbags. I finished with one final layer of high-shine topcoat just on the CCs (not on the nail bed) for more definition."

Summer Nail-Art Trend 2022: Pastel Gradient

If you aren't scared of a splash of colour and want to welcome it into your new at-home manicures, Williamson suggests getting inspired by the flowers blooming whilst on your daily walk. "Instead of using 10 colours, try five, or even three," Williamson says. If you aren't sure which shades work well together, "try sticking with pastels that complement each other, or tonal colours starting from light to dark."

Summer Nail-Art Trend 2022: Neon Hues For the Finer Details

In the summer months, many of us turn to neon shades, but Laura Southern from House of Lady Muck salon in London says you don't always have to go full-on neon to get the hue in there. She recommends using neon shades for finer details or accent nails, in addition to using black or white to make the neon hues really pop, without filling the entire nail with the colour.

Summer Nail-Art Trend 2022: Up in the Clouds

This design is subtle, creative, and, best of all, pretty easy to re-create. Our favourite designs are the ones that don't need to be perfect, and this definitely ticks that box. With this design, take a cotton bud like Williamson does in this video, and roughly dab on a white shade to create cloud-like shapes. Follow this by taking a light grey hue and, using the other end of the cotton bud, dab the colour over the top of the white polish, making sure to only cover small areas of the white.

Summer Nail-Art Trend 2022: Takashi Murakami-Inspired Designs

Jordan is totally "obsessed" with designs inspired by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami (and we are too!), particularly for the summertime as the colours are so vibrant. Seen on Kylie Jenner in 2020, the instantly recognisable artwork has inspired many more artists to get experimental. One of Jordan's favourite re-creations is this one by London-based nail artist Anouska Anastasia. Obviously, our at-home manicures won't be anywhere near as detailed, so take elements and colours from each design to inspire your own.