Any excuse is a good excuse to get your nails done IMO, but Mother’s Day is pretty high up on that list. Maybe you’re planning on spending the day at the salon with your nearest and dearest, or you’re heading out to a special restaurant to celebrate someone or be celebrated yourself — no matter what Sunday’s plans are, here’s a little Mother’s Day nail design inspiration, ranging from pretty to floral to edgy to glam. You can take them to the salon and ask a nail artist to work their magic, or if you prefer to give yourself an at-home manicure, there are plenty of press-on and semi-cured options in every kind of simple or intricate style you can imagine. And there’s plenty of styles to choose from — at least one is bound to be the poetic match to your Mother’s Day outfit.
Some of these options are simple and require zero skills whatsoever to execute, while others are more complicated and might require you bust out your nail tool kit or hire a professional to accomplish. And some look hard-to-master, but are actually fool-proof to achieve because they’re simply press-ons or semi-cured gel stickers.
So pick a nail design, make it happen, and get ready to move your hands in slow motion come Mother’s Day to make sure everyone else can enjoy them too.
1. Flowers and glitter
Floral pattern enthusiasts (looking at you, Rifle Paper fans) will get a kick out of these colorful gel nail stickers made by Dashing Diva available at Target. Unlike semi-cured gel nails, these don’t require a UV lamp to set, and each pack includes a mix of floral and glittery options.
2. Gold flakes
The mix of gold flakes and black banding in this nail design make this Mother’s Day nail art feel edgy yet glamorous and it really works with any outfit.
3. Colorful sequins on a donut glaze
Start with glazey white nails (a popular nail trend for 2023) and jazz them up with sequins and oversized glitter pieces. Sure you can buy them store-bought, but it’s also possible there’s a dress or art project in your house that you can shake some sparkles out of. Use a tweezer to place the decorative accents where you want them and give it all a clear coat of polish to set it all in place.
Yes, these pretty color-blocked nails with a white heart detail in the center give off major Valentine’s Day vibes, but they’re also a lovely option for Mother’s Day. It seems relatively easy to pull off at home (you can use a toothpick or dotter to drag a drop of white polish around to create the heart), but they’re actually press-on nails from nail polish company Olive & June, and they’re available at Target.
5. Pastel rainbow
This one’s not difficult to recreate at all. Simply grab 5 different nail polish colors that look good together and paint each nail a different color.
6. Checker board
Whether you associate the checker pattern with chess, Vans slip-ons, or Kris Jenner’s foyer, you can’t hide from the fact that they take your brain somewhere. In lavender, these cool press-on nails from Chillhouse feel more skater than formal, but also very spring. It’s a great statement nail for those who want to stand out a little bit on Mother’s Day.
7. Portrait hour
Take inspiration from this nail design and enlist the best nail artist you know to paint a portrait on your nails of someone — or multiple people or pets — important to you.
8. Gold and baubles
Fans love semi-cured gel nail strips because they are easy to apply and long-lasting, and they look really, really good. I love the brand Ohora — I find the quality of their product better than many competing brands out there — and they have some really great designs ranging from elegant and glamorous designs (like these watercolor-like stickers adorned with gold foil and clear balls which add a decorative 3D element to them) to cute patterns featuring adorable creatures.
9. Patterns and more patterns
When you just can’t decide on one pattern, choose them all. This fun Mother’s Day nail design of an assortment of abstract patterns still works, even though no two nails are the same. Its cohesiveness is in its chaos.
10. French mani with a cherry twist
If you can pull off a French manicure, either by hand or with a nail stamper, you might be able to create this super sweet Mother’s Day nail design idea at home. A dotter or toothpick can help you achieve the cherry detail. If not, you can pick up these Glamnetic press-on nails at Sephora.
11. Timeless gradient
A classic white nail truly goes with everything, but these are a step up. Instead of rocking solid nail beds, stick to one timeless color and lean into the gradient trend. Whether your outfit is casual or glam, this nail design works.
12. Pastel florals
It’s not easy to achieve a sophisticated, elegant manicure when multiple colors and patterns are thrown in the mix. But this set (another semi-cured gel option) uses the perfect mix of soft, nature-inspired hues to nail it.
If jazzing your nails up and giving them a little extra TLC is something that sparks joy, there’s really no reason not to invest a little bit of time and money in a Mother’s Day manicure you’ll love, especially if all it takes is $6.99 and a little bit of patience to achieve it.