Defined by their 90-degree angles and flat tops, square nails are a great choice for those with narrow nail beds. They make nails appear wider. The square shape is also more durable and is able to withstand more of an impact than most other nail shapes without damage.
When you pair a square shape with shorter nails, (which are also more durable and less likely to break), you’ve got yourself a mani that’s going to last a whole lot longer.
Let’s face it, short nails are so much more practical for everyday life. And while long nails have usually hogged most of the spotlight on nail trends, the tides are changing and shorter nails are trending.
We’ve put together our favorite 38 square short acrylic nails to give you a little inspiration for your next mani appointment.
Are Square Nails In Style?
Square nails are now experiencing a resurgence as everything Y2K is cycling around and making a comeback.
That said, there seems to be an obsession with everything nails and right now! Not only are all nails shapes in style, but all lengths as well.
This is great news because some nail shapes and lengths suit some people better than others, so you really have your pick… and if you’ve picked square short nails, you’ve definitely come to the right place.
Let’s get to the nails!
Square Short Acrylic Nails
We’ve amassed 38 of our favorite square short acrylic nail creations and broken them down into six categories of trending designs.
Odd Nail (or two) Out
One of the biggest acrylic nail trends is painting three or four of the nails on each hand a solid color and either adding nail art or simply a different color to one or two nails. Nail art on every nail can be a little too busy, but just having the nail art on one or two nails is a great way to take your plain manicure up a notch while still keeping it chic.
What would otherwise just be a fun and playful manicure, somehow the addition of that one stark white nail with silver band detailing brings a certain elegance and elevates it from super casual.
Periwinkle is the color of 2022, so it’s no surprise that it’s a color that’s still been turning up on nails everywhere.
It’s a little bit blue with a little bit purple and because of its warm tones (thanks to the purple), will suit both warm and cool-toned skin. This means that this color will look good on just about everyone.
Adding a little abstract nail art to one nail just sweetens the pot.
White is another color that’s been not only really popular as a nail color, but also in fashion. White is one of the biggest colors for this fall and winter. Since having forever broken the ‘not after labor day’ rule, white has been embraced as a color for all seasons.
And while it can be a little bland, livening up a white mani with a little gold on one nail keeps it interesting.
If you want to go a little bolder, this is a nice mix of contrasting colors with just a little bit of alternating bling on each nail. This is how you do bold and bling and still keep it classy!
Here we have two nails done differently from the rest — one with nail art and one with glitter.
Now if you are planning to do this (glitter and nail art) – take notes. This is how it should be done.
Keep the colors matching.
Your nail art and your glitter nail should match the rest of your nails! Otherwise it will just look like you went to the nail salon lost and found and just picked up some bits and pieces that had been left behind from other manicures.
The exception to the rule above is if you’re doing your nails for a very celebratory occasion. Silver glitter acrylics can be a little too much for everyday wear, but silver can act as a neutral that goes with everything, including your other nails.
Rather than getting your nails just one solid color, nail art is always an option. The designs are seemingly endless and you are really only limited by your imagination. Here are a few of our favorites.
Abstract swirls in neon colors give nude nails a real pop.
One of the best ways to keep your short nail art design appropriate for more professional or formal environments is to keep it minimal.
If you are going for intricate nail art, keeping it to just one or two nails on each hand is a great way to add some interest, but still keep it understated.
We love this nail design above because although the two nails are almost the same, the design is actually different. The two solid nails on either side also work well to highlight the nail art.
These nails have a whole lot going on!
But a neutral color palette helps to reign it all in. A solid pinky, a French (or rather, American!) tip, a colored French tip, and abstract waves all come together with a sophisticated palette of nude pink and browns that keeps it elegant.
When they are done right, velvet nails make you want to touch them. They are one of the biggest trends for this fall and winter.
And while velvet nails can be done in any color, green velvet nails seem to be especially popular.
Milky pink nails are kind of like nude nails, but a little more pink and ‘milky’. There are a few versions of the milky pink nail that includes a slight ombre from pink to a whiter tip, and a solid color. They can be both translucent and opaque.
If you love the look of these nails as much as we do, be sure to check out milky pink nails if you want to DIY this look at home without acrylics.
French tips are absolutely on fire at the moment.
Right now, French tips are everywhere. And not only are we seeing them in the classic nude with white tip combo, we are seeing them re-imagined and updated in so many different ways.
They look great on square short acrylic nails and we’ve put together a few of our favorite French tip designs for your inspiration.
But before we get into them… let’s talk about colors for a minute. The color of your tips is totally up to you and right now, we’re seeing French tips in every color of the rainbow. But when it comes to choosing the nude color for the nail bed, you need to choose a ‘nude’ that matches your skin undertones.
Nude nail colors tend to either lean toward pink or peach. If you have cool skin undertones, go for a nude that is more pinkish. If you have warm skin undertones, you want to go with a ‘nude’ that has more of a peach base.
Case in point: Two fantastically well-done French manicures, both using the same pinkish nude shade as the base. As you can see, in the first photo, the pink makes her skin look off and a little yellow. It’s because she has warm undertones and that’s the wrong color for her.
If you take a look at the second photo, same color, but it compliments her skin undertones and makes her nail beds and surrounding skin look healthy.
You can’t fault the manicurist if you picked the color! Now the woman on the left should have chosen a nude that had more of a peach base, rather than pink for her warm complexion.
Okay so let’s get into the rest of our French Tips!
This next photo is a great example of how a peachy nude looks so much more natural on someone who has warm skin undertones. And we LOVE the light orange tips with the darker orange line detail!
This is a French tip style we’re seeing a lot with square short acrylic nails.
The extra line in a contrasting color adds a little interest and the rounded bottom edge of the tip makes the square nail shape not look so harsh and blunt. Just love the color combo on these next Frenchies – like watermelon and sunshine.
It’s the perfect summer mani.
Colored French Tips are all the rage. It’s a great way to get a little pop of color. And because it’s only at the tips, you can go as bold as you want without it being too in-your-face.
And you don’t have to settle for all your tips being the same color. Why not have a little fun with it and put a different color on each nail!
Micro French tips are also trending, and also in every color. They are just like a regular French tip, except just the very, very tip is a different color.
When it comes to square short acrylic nails, there really are no rules.
If you liked the rainbow French and micro French tips, what about a rainbow on each nail! How cool is that!?
Not even sure what to call these, but this variation on the French tip has been popping up all over the place. It’s like a micro French tip with sideburns.
You don’t have to have really long nails to pull it off, but this design is better suited to medium short, rather than really short nails.
Now if you’ve always walked to the beat of your own drum, this French tip design is definitely different. More like a ‘French corner’, it’s surprisingly classy and elegant.
Yet another version of the ‘French corner’ with a little complementing nail art that actually makes it look less like a French tip and more like a full nail design, despite the void in the middle. This is another great way to wear a bold, bright color without it being too over the top.
When it comes to square short acrylic nails, you are really limited to your imagination. Pretty much anything goes and with the nail designs that are really popular right now! You are not pigeonholed into one color.
In fact, different textures and patterns are also really popular.
What better way to Segway from our French tips into our animal prints than with these tortoise shell Frenchies!
Animal print is super hot right now. Not just leopard print, but snakeskin, zebra, giraffe – if it’s an animal and it has a pattern – it’s trending right now.
The tricky thing about animal print is that it can look elegant and sophisticated, or cheap and garish. There’s a fine line. If you want to stay on the chic side of animal print, less is definitely more.
These are some of our favorite square short acrylic nails with animal print done right.
Although it may seem like no one is getting nails done in one solid color anymore, a well-done manicure in one color will never go out of style!
But if you are looking to get something a little less traditional, as far as designs and colors go, the sky really is the limit right now.
When you have so many options it can seem a little overwhelming when it comes time to choose a color or design. If you’re looking for some help to narrow down your options for the nail colors that will look the best on you, you should check out our articles: What color should I paint my nails? and of course, our Ultimate guide to skin undertones.