10 Yellow Nail Designs To Save For Your Next Mani Appointment

From subtle French tips to bold color-blocking.

Yellow nail designs in 2021 ranged from abstract neon nails to pastel French tips.

When picking a shade for a bold nail look, yellow may not be your first choice (or your second, or third). But yellow nail designs in 2021 have shown that the color is more wearable than beauty lovers originally thought. From soft pastel buttercup to electric neon to warm mustard, different shades of yellow nail polish can be worn all year round.

Not only is yellow a sunshine-inspired mood booster (something you’ll definitely appreciate as the weather gets colder and colder), but it’s also a versatile shade that you can wear solo or subtly incorporate into a design. “My favorite ways to incorporate yellow in a manicure would be brushstrokes of yellow or dots of yellow,” nail artist Canishiea Robinson tells Bustle. “Those little accents bring so much to the mani.”

Yellow can also take your patterned nails to the next level. Celebrity nail artist Jessica Tong loves to use the color in anything from animal print to flames. “However,” she notes, “I love using yellow mostly with any kind of happy face print. I love the pop art quality.”

Whether you always like to rock bold nails or you’re looking for a new shade to test out, here are 10 yellow nail designs that will have you running to your manicurist.


Yellow French Tips

If you’re feeling hesitant about trying yellow nail designs, test the hue on your tips first. Colorful French manicures have been having a major moment for a while now — they’re a fun, low stakes way to experiment with the shade.


Smiley Face Nails

Smiley face nails will cheer you up again and again. Plus, the design is such a throwback to the ’90s and easy to recreate with nail stickers.


Solid Mustard

“Mustard yellow is always a fall hit,” Robinson says. Dive right in and wear the shade solo, or use it as an accent shade (Robinson says the mustard is a great complimentary hue) against other wintery nail polish colors like slate or burgundy.


Marigold Accents

If you want to use yellow as an accent shade, incorporate another warm yellow shade like marigold to your manicure. Paired with contrasting colors like a muted pink, it creates an unexpected combo that looks fresh.


Negative Space Designs

Who doesn’t love a good negative space manicure? According to Robinson, you can’t go wrong by playing around with yellow negative space nail designs. Take it to the next level and add geometric lines in a dark shade for a bold look that’s perfect for winter.


Asymmetrical Clouds

Here’s another great design to try if you’re feeling apprehensive about rocking yellow nails. A cloud-like design in a soft pastel polish is a great idea.


Color Block Nails

Yellow makes a statement on its own, but combined with the other two primary colors? It creates an artsy, graphic look that’s so pretty it belongs in a museum.


Deep Tips

Here’s another style for retro French manicure lovers. These deep tips play on negative space, and are the perfect design to show off lots of bold shades like yellow.


Dainty Floral Details

Pastel nails shouldn’t just be reserved for warmer days. A soft buttercup yellow is too pretty not to wear all year round. Add neutral-colored minimalistic details to create a nail look perfect for any occasion.


Half & Half

This striped design is a great way to introduce yellow to your manicure. It’s a major fall nail art trend, not to mention super DIY-friendly.