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Fresh Florals, Celestial Style, & More Fall Nail Trends To Try

Fall is here, and between back-to-school butterflies, shifting to in-person classes, and returning to campus, this time of year can feel like a fresh start. After over a year of being indoors, living in sweatpants, and rarely going out to see friends, college students everywhere are starting to experiment with personal style again. One of the best ways to creatively express yourself and feel great throughout the school year is by having gorgeous nails — and whether you keep them long or short, there are tons of beautiful nail trends that’ll brighten up any fall outfit. Here are the fall 2021 nail trends to try that you’ll definitely want as inspo for your next salon visit. 

Fresh Florals

I know the weather might be chilly, but these adorable floral designs are sure to put you in a better mood and leave you looking forward to spring! Some of these flowers might seem tricky to paint, so check out a YouTube tutorial if you’re attempting an at-home manicure instead of a salon.

Classic Red

Honestly, I don’t know if anything can beat a classic red mani. This look seems simple, but red is a bold color choice that instantly makes you feel confident and put-together no matter where your fall adventures take you. Try a red manicure with matte polish or add a little shimmer to make your nails pop, and it’ll be the perfect complement to the autumn leaves.

Mermaid Nails

Is it ever not a good day to add shimmer to your nails?! I love this mermaid look, because it’s super easy to switch out for different shimmery polish colors depending on your mood. Your nails stay cute and sparkly no matter the color you choose, and it’s the perfect way to add pizzazz to any fall outfit. The weather might be a bit brisk these days, but mermaid nails will remind you of summer — not to mention they’re perfect to match with the “dolphin skin” trend.


This look might feel like it’s out of your comfort zone, but if you’re trying this look at home, a simple YouTube tutorial can definitely help you out! The swirls of color and slight touch of gold in this design are unique, and you can be creative and use any polish colors you want. Marble is the perfect style for fall since it goes with just about any outfit, and it’s the ideal mix of cute and classy. 

Mix and Match

Multi-colored nails are super on-trend right now, and for good reason. Adding contrasting colors is an interesting way to shake up your mani, and bold colors mix it up while coordinating colors add cohesion and style to your look. Imagine rocking this look with a comfy, oversized sweater or as a pop of color to go with your favorite blazer — what could be better for the fall season?

New Nude

There’s something so pretty and simple about a nude manicure. To switch things up, try using different shades of nude nail polish for a unique monochrome mani, or add a bit of shimmery light pink polish over nude nails for a bit of shine. A nude mani is also a great option if you have an important interview or meeting coming up, because it’s subtle and professional. 

Pattern Play

If you’re looking for a fresh manicure idea for fall, try mixing bold colors with fun little polka dots or another pattern you love. I love a good shimmery nail polish, but if you’re not a glitter fan, you can use matte polish or anything that’ll put you in the fall spirit. You can also check out fun patterns like newspaper nails, which I guarantee will be the perfect conversation starter for when you head back to classes!

French Tips

French tips are timeless and elegant, and they look amazing with every outfit. If you want to spruce up traditional tips, try using different colors like black, fuschia, fall-inspired jewel tones, or create reverse French tips by painting a simple half-moon shape at the base of your nails instead of the top.

Celestial Sky

If you have some time on your hands (and a patient, steady hand), you can never go wrong with recreating this night sky-inspired mani. Try painting the moon, adding some gold or silver foil constellations, and you’re set to shoot for the stars — celestial nails are a fun, unexpected way to spice up any fall look. For a simpler take on this design, paint your nails a pretty dark blue and then use white or gold polish to add tiny stars by dotting the polish onto your nails. And of course, if this is way too complicated to try at home, head to the salon and show them a pic for inspiration.


This is the perfect mani for when you want subtle nails with a pop of something unexpected. Plus, the colors are perfect for fall — deep, subtle, yet sophisticated enough to make you feel put together, even if you’re living in the same sweater and leggings combo 24/7. Mixing solid colors with a fun tortie accent nail is a great way to be a little bold with your manicure and ring in the new season.

Hopefully you’ve found some major inspo to make your fall mani dreams come true. Although some of these designs might seem tricky, remember that nail art is still art, so have some fun with your nails and don’t worry about being perfect. If trying at home isn’t your thing, you can always treat yourself with a trip to the salon (who says back-to-school season can’t include a little beauty boost?). Remember to bring these pics for inspo, have fun with your look, and start enjoying your fall adventures!

Harshita is currently a junior studying Information Systems and Human Resources at Loyola University Chicago. She is passionate about traveling, hiking, cuddling her two cats, and discovering cruelty-free beauty.
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