Nail Design

25 Popular Negative Space Nail Arts: Less Is More

In the business of nail arts, negative space nail art are up and coming. This is a technique where a part of the nail is left unpainted. At best, you can use a neutral top coat.


Class It up with Negative Space Nail Art

When it comes to negative spacing nail art, less is elegant. This nail art has evolved over the last couple of years. Now we have rich sample designs to choose from.


negative space cow print nail art

negative space cow print nail art



negative space korean nail art

negative space korean nail art



negative space gel nail art

negative space gel nail art



negative space heart nail art

negative space heart nail art



negative space half moon nail art

negative space half moon nail art


#6. Colourblock

colorblock negative space nail design

In an average nail art, up to three contrasting shades are used (anything more than three seems crowded). However, for a space nail art, two colors are enough. At best, you can push it to three. The nude shade of the nail itself acts as a shade. Other colors should then be bright and eye-popping. Use sticky tapes or arthouse brushes (the latter only if you are super confident) to layer the colors. Do not forget to apply top coat.

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#7. Geometrical Patterns

Geometrical patterns nail art

Geometrical patterns are crisp and neat, although they can be difficult to paint on. You can choose any pattern, but Chevron is the flavor of the season. Besides the patterns, the choice of color is also important when you are going for a geometric design. You can use contrasting colors for different sections of the pattern such as black and white, blue and gold, red and green. You can also detail them with stripes and hairline borders.


#8. Go, French,

french manicure nails

The French manicure is back in town! It had been nearly written off a few years back, but with the resurgence of space nails, the French manicure is soon becoming the preferred form of nail décor. The original concept of the French manicure was to use a light base color. The top edges were then painted in something contrasting. For space negative nail arts, the nude shade of the natural nail is employed as the light base. It is protected by a top coat. The biggest advantage is that any color can be chosen for the tip. It need not strictly be contrasting.


#9. Flimsy Artwork

negative space nail art with floral print

This kind of nail art is better left for pros. Negative space features heavily so that the attention is diverted towards the pattern. This usually includes a very small yet intricate pattern painted on the tip or the cuticle-end of the nail over a clear top coat.


#10. The Cuticle Dressing or Half Moon

half moon negative space nail design

Nowadays, artists are focussing on keeping only the cuticle portion of the nail covered. The rest of the nail is left bereft of color. The cuticle offers a tiny, yet shapely canvas for a chunky pattern. This contrasts well with the nude shade of the nail, which is protected by a top coat.


#11. The Polka Dot

Nothing screams cute like polka dots. These patterns can survive with or without contrasts. They can thus, be easily used against negative spaces on nails. If you really want to show off the dots, choose a bright shade that will stand out against the nude shade of the nail. If you are in the mood for something sober, you can pick a shade like cream or pink.


#12. A Colorful Line

If you have patchy nails that you want to hide, nail art, even negative space nail art, is a good idea. You need not go overboard with decorating the nails. A single colorful line is enough to brighten up the nail.Leaving a portion uncolored, the rest of the nail can be covered. You can choose a light shade as close to the natural nail color as possible.


#13. Geode nails

Geode nails are the in-thing now. Abstract and striking, geode nails can be too much to carry off for some. However, they look best against negative space nails. The cerebral whirl of the patterns clashes with the simplicity of the nude background. 

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#14. The outline

This is a rather bold way of highlighting the nail. Barring a top coat, no other color goes into the body of the nail, except a thin border. This border is usually of medium thickness. It should not too thin as to go unnoticed. Thicker borders look pudgy and ungraceful.


#15. The White

Many people refrain from using white as a contrasting color on nude shades. This is often linked to the complexion. However, this is a highly misleading concept. The use of white on nails creates a very graceful pattern. It looks, especially against a darker skin tone. The ideal patterns to paint using a white nail paint are flowery designs and geometrical patterns.


#16. Use A Striping Tape

A striping tape is ideal for this purpose. It is extremely thin, in keeping with the tiny canvas of the nail. It also creates an interesting break in the pattern. An artist need not paint the break manually, which can be riskier. A striking tape typically a golden one – is an excellent way to develop sections against a negative space background.


#17. Embellish it

The biggest risk that space nails create is boredom. In a bid to showcase the nails, the nail art loses its charm. This can be corrected by adding a few embellishments to the artwork. A small golden bead or a tiny rhinestone go a long way in glamming up an otherwise simple nail art.


#18. The Multi-Colored French Manicure

This is a traditional French manicure with a fun side to it. The growing tip of the nail can be colored in different shades on different nails. It is ideal for a vacation, where maintenance of nail art is not the priority. Still, the nail looks finished and well-cared for enough.

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#19. The Reverse Half-Moon 

This is a variation of the cuticle dressing discussed above. In this case, the cuticles are left uncolored. The rest of the nail is painted in any shade of your choice. The slightly paler countenance of the cuticle area contrasts well with the shade above.


#20. Negative Spacing Pastel Nails

One of the best kind of colors to bring out the nude shade of the nails is pastels. They are child-like and eye-popping, Ideally applied either as a half-moon or as a French manicure, pastels light up the nail art like nothing else.


#21. Stars

Like flowers and polka dots, you cannot go wrong with stars on a naked nail. Negative space nail art is all about using the natural nail as the canvas. Stars are a perfect image to paint for this kind of design, given the symmetry of their shapes. White looks most elegant while painting stars, although almost any other color will do too.


#22. Glitter

In order to make negative space nails less boring, add glitter. It can be used to paint the whole pattern or a part of it. A touch of glitter – like crystals – makes the nails part-worthy. Glitters are also available in a number of shades, like gold, black, silver etc. Depending on the other shades used, you can what kind and where to use the glitter.


#23. Lattice

This is also known as lace nail art. It usually requires a lot of negative space in the nails. Also, it is extremely difficult and a highly intricate process of nail art. As the name suggests, the patterns are borrowed from delicate lace. Having these done in white or black gives a very classy feel to the nails. Many people also, choose to add a small pattern to lace template, so that the nail does not look too drab.


#24. One-Nail Art

one nail spacing nail art

This is the epitome of elegance in space nail arts. Leaving all the nails uncolored, barring one, focuses all the attention towards that one nail. The other nails are understandably covered in top coat making them look finely manicured. The single nail can be incorporated with any kind of pattern. The bolder the better, as the negative space in the other nails needs to be counterbalanced.


#25. Ombre Nail Art

ombre space nail art

This is another new art form which is picking up in the negative space nail arts. Ombre nails need to be carefully and artistically designed. The shading from the dark to the nude shade cannot be drastic or else it looks sloppy. In this case, the deeper the shade, the more fun. The transition of the dark colors to the natural hue of the nail is a very artistic way of decorating the nails. For a step-by-step DIY, read this.

Any Occasion Ahead? Try These Sultry Ombre!


Have a Look at These Popular Negative Space Nail Arts


Negative space nail art is a refined line of manicure and is still developing. There are plenty of amateurs and specialists alike, who have been posting mind-boggling patterns on Instagram and Pinterest. Who knew that the canvas of the nail could be used for such artistic purposes!

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