New season, new nail look is what we say. So if you’re booked in for a mani or are painting your own but are stuck for a fresh idea then let our pick of the best autumn nail looks be your inspo
We know it sounds like a cliche to say new season, new nail looks. But sometimes the facts are the facts and if, like us, you’ve started searching for autumn nail designs then you know there’s nothing like tweaking the type of nails you choose to tie in with the weather and the way the world looks around you. Gone are the bright and bold colours of the summer 2023 nail designs we sported and loved, it’s time for something a bit more cosy and chic. And now is also the perfect time to incorporate a bit of extra time on how to care for your nails too. That way whatever manicure you do opt for, it will look even more gorgeous.
That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best autumn nail designs we could find. From tortoiseshell prints to super glam black-tie inspired patterns, these autumn nail designs work for all nail lengths, some you may be able to do yourself if you’re nifty with nail polish otherwise show them to your nail technician and prepare to show off some truly fabulous fingers.
1. Gorgeous ghosts
If you're looking for a cute Halloween nail design that still manages to look chic and stylish, look no further. We love the combination of ghosts with chrome stars on a bare base. Bravo nail technician Heather Errington.
Every set of nails that nail technician, Harriet Westmoreland creates makes us swoon; these are no exception. We love the clean and chic natural base colour but then love that there’s a moment of something special with the spaced-out gems along the tip. So elegant but with an element of fun. You will need an exceptionally steady hand to do these yourself at home so maybe best left to the pros.
3. Black scallop
The perfect nod to Halloween and the spooky season without being too full-on but also a great alternative to a traditional French tip. Painted by nail technician Anvita Patel, this is what we’re going for at our next manicure appointment.
4. Peachy pearls
Created by celebrity nail technician, and one of our GTG Beauty Awards 2023 judges, Michelle Class, these gorgeous pearlescent and peach-toned nails are a great option for autumn and work on every nail shape and length.
5. Stars and sparkle
Bring a bit of party season to your manicure now with shimmering stars. The chrome effect, rather than glitter, gives it a bit of a cooler edge to the look. Masterfully painted by celebrity nail technician, Michelle Humphrey.
6. Pinot noir
Classic and just the perfect shade for this time of year. A look you can do at home with regular nail polish and on any nail shape or length. Or get your nail tech to do it with a gel or acrylic so it lasts longer. These were created by nail pro, Faye Louise Dennis.
7. Tonal tones
Could there be a more autumnal colour palette than this? If having a full block brown manicure seems, well a bit too brown, then this is the way to add some lightness and fun to it by opting for various tones within the same colour family. A great look for long and short nails whichever shape you opt for.
8. Spiced Pumpkin Latte nails
There aren’t many times when your coffee order can inspire your manicure but the iconic autumnal spiced pumpkin latte is that moment. If baked goods are more your nail vibe then Hailey Bieber glazed donut nails are still going strong. However, back to spiced pumpkins. This is the colour that keeps coming back every autumn and it’s back stronger than ever this year. The overall vibe is a bit orange, a bit brown and feel free to add a chrome or glazed layer over the top for some extra sheen and shine.
9. Lady in reds
Time to swap out your bright summery coral and pink reds for darker and more wintery shades. If picking one is too tricky then choose a couple for a graduated and ombre effect. Another look that works on any nail shape and nail length and the sort of look you can easily do at home too.
10. Tortoiseshell talons
This is a look that’s best left to the professionals unless you’re a dab hand at doing your own nails. The effect is created by layering quite a few different shades so you do need time and patience to let each layer dry properly before starting with the next. You start with a base colour all over the nail - for a true tortoiseshell effect this is a dark brown-black. Then, use a mid-brown shade and create some randomly placed and different-sized blobs that aren’t too perfect or uniform in shape. Next, use a darker brown shade and do some more blobs that overlap the first ones and again aren’t perfect in shape or size. Finish with a top clear coat to give it a super glossy finish.
11. Falling leaves
Nothing says autumn manicure like having leaves painted on your nails. Are we right? Again, unless you happen to be extremely arty and have a very steady hand then this is a design that’s probably best to take to your nail pro so they can work their magic.
12. Espresso mani
Espresso makeup is a trend that’s come from TikTok, and it translates perfectly to nails. In fact, it may be one of our favourite TikTok trends, along with how to use fruit as makeup! You can of course wear it as a block colour, but we love how it’s been paired with a soft pink base colour here.
13. Tortoiseshell tips
Swap out your regular French manicure white tips for something a bit more of the season and go for tortoiseshell instead. A great option if you like the full-on tortoiseshell look but want something a bit more understated and subtle.
14. Tuxedo tips
Black nails are so chic and timeless and the biggest plus is that they go with everything. And while we love a full-on black nail as much as the next person, there’s something a bit more playful by utilising the negative space and creating different shapes and patterns.
15. Walk in the woods
Take all the inspiration of nature to your nails this season with a mix of woodland greens and floral and leafy motifs. We love the mixture of styles on the nails here which we think stops the leaf pattern looking too twee and the green tips make it more sophisticated.
16. Golden arches
Every season should involve some sparkle and glitter in our humble opinion. And for a low-key glitter look why not isolate it to the cuticle line and then match it with whatever autumnal colour appeals most? Here it has been teamed with a dark coral but it really would work with whatever colour you fancy.
17. Spooky ombre
Want to do something a little bit Halloweeny with your nails without having the obvious cobwebs and ghosts painted on? Well, this could be the answer. A deep red merging into a glossy black to create a gorgeous ombre effect that’s super wearable and flattering.
18. Sage green
It’s one of the hottest interior colours of the season so why not go for green on your nails too? Definitely an autumn nail design that can be done at home - Chanel Le Vernis in Cavalier Seul, £29 is a gorgeous shade and you could even team it with the brand’s iconic nail stickers which we’ve reviewed Chanel Le Vernis Kit to make it even more glam.
19. Moments of darkness
If you love a soft pink or fairly natural base but are looking to add a little bit of interest to it then something like this design strikes the perfect balance. Go for a different option for every nail or stick with one and repeat.
20. Dark and stormy
Is it black is it an ultra-deep dark red? Hard to say, but we know that we love it. Again, another look that you can easily do at home. And cult nail polish shade OPI Lincoln Park After Dark, £14.90 is a great shade to try out.
21. Semi-skimmed milky nails
Milky nails were one of the biggest nail trends for 2023. For those that are unfamiliar, milky nails are super clean and use a shade that’s almost the same as the tone of the natural nail bed. They are the ultimate ‘your nails but better’ look. For autumn why not, keep the milky base colour but add a hint of green?