16 ideas for your next trip to the nail salon

Fun nail art is especially doable when it comes to more real estate. Enter: Coffin nails. The name might sound morbid, but it’s fitting, given the form. Also known as “ballerina nails,” coffin nails are typically long, tapered towards the point, and square at the ends – just like, you know, shaped like a coffin or point.

You can opt for acrylics or grow your actual nails (just be sure to file down the sides for a shrinking effect and trim the ends to get a blunt tip), but rest assured there will be plenty of room for rock intricate patterns, color combinations and designs.

While coffin nails can be achieved with medium length nails, it’s a bit easier to go longer in order to achieve the pronounced taper effect and avoid looking square, says Rebecca. Ludwig, professional nail artist and member of the ManiMe nail artist community. She adds that in order to keep the edges of your coffin nails crisp and clean, it’s a good idea to keep a nail file like ManiMe’s Glassy File on hand for easy touch-up.

In terms of designs, you can get nail art ideas from celebs like Hailey Bieber, Lizzo, Saweetie, and Kylie Jenner (the Coffin Nails MVP) – all of which are known to rock a really cool manicure – or browse some experts. approved styles the next time you fancy a change. Bellacures nail technician Savanna Galvan tells Bustle that the marbling, swirls, minimalist lines and French V-shaped tips all work especially well with coffin nails “because they make a bold statement to complement the long, tapered edges of the shape of the nail “.

Below, Ludwig, Galvan, and other nail professionals share their favorite designs that look especially cool on coffin nails.


Advice in French

It’s no secret that the French manicure is back – and the style of the early 2000s looks great on coffin nails, especially when it comes to a twist. “There are many variations of a French manicure, so you don’t have to stick to traditional pink and white,” says Ludwig. You can go for virtually any color or finish when it comes to coffin nails with a French tip, like Lizzo’s metallic gold detailing.



Nothing falls like a plaid, so consider incorporating the design on your nails, suggests Ludwig. The best part? Any combination of colors and finishes works – you can even mix them up and rock a combination of shades on one side and another on the other.


Matte black and gold

“You absolutely can’t go wrong with an elegant matte black coffin nail,” says Ludwig. The style is especially good for the fall and winter months. To add a bit of pizazz, incorporate gold details for a subtle yet eye-catching golden effect.


Tie Dye Coffin Nails

Whether you choose to go from dark to light (or vice versa) or prefer a soft mix of Kylie Jenner-style pastels, a layered look involving several different shades of the same tone always looks great, says Ludwig. “I really like this look because it’s so versatile. You can use all color scheme and it still looks great.


Subtle contours

Outlining your coffin nails in different shades is an easy way to enhance your look. A colorful border paired with neutral polish on the nail bed is both unexpected and fun – and emphasizes the form.


Textured details

“I saw a lot of three-dimensional textures [nail] looks like the weaving of a cable-knit sweater, ”explains Emily Rudman, nail technician and founder of beauty brand Emilie Heathe. “It’s a super fun idea as the colder months approach.”


V Point Coffin Nails

A fun update to the classic French mani, Rudman calls the sharp V-shaped tips a particularly good design. “The angularity of the nail design and shape go very well together,” she says.

Galvan agrees, noting that the design is perfect due to the structure of the form. “It flows well with the tips and the narrowness [of coffin nails]. ”


Neutral shaded

Rudman refers to ombre neutrals as one of his favorite coffin nail designs. “A neutral that goes from pink or [bare] the base at a white tip is like an updated French manicure, ”she says, adding that the design gets extra points because it grows easily thanks to the base color matching the natural nail bed.


Tortoiseshell Nails

“Animal prints are still there,” says Rudman, “but the tortoiseshell is one that you don’t see that often. Still, she touts the print as being timeless and chic, especially when it comes to a manicure. (In other words, the print isn’t just for sunglasses.)


Animal Print Tips

Rudman predicts animal print pointe shoes in warm tones will be popular this fall. “People are always on the lookout for new, exciting ways to spice up a French tip,” says the pro, “and presenting a bold print is the perfect way to achieve that. ”


Minimalist lines

If you’re looking for something a little less daring, minimalist lines or tiny dots along the nail bed might do the trick, suggests Galvan. “It’s perfect for a full nail or can be blended like a French tip. It’s a great way to showcase the bright holiday colors without being too bold, ”she says.



A celebrity favorite, marble manicures are sleek, subtle, and downright beautiful, Galvan says. With coffin nails the design is even better. “Marble nails are [also] an elegant way to learn about nail art, ”she adds. The best part? You can totally achieve the look at home.


Retro swirls

“Tourbillons have been the most requested design at the show for months now,” notes Galvan. “People like simplicity [and the] touch of dynamism. With coffin nails, there’s plenty of room to showcase some really eye-catching swirls.


Red glitter

As the holidays approach, Galvan recommends darker shades like brooding purple or deep red on coffin nails. For a little more fun, swap out each nail with matte or ombre finishes – or better yet, glitter.


Accent nail

“Since most coffin shaped nails are quite long, there’s a lot of room for the design, but that doesn’t mean you have to use everything,” says Rudman. An accent nail, that is, a nail that incorporates a different design or color from others, is a great way to “spice up a simple look”.

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