Style

A Fun Way to Choose Your Next Nail Color

movie inspired nail colors

Something happens every time I change my nail color…

I become paralyzed with indecision. When I used to go to the nail salon, I would take eight minutes, minimum, to choose a color, much to the dismay of my nail technician. I try not to be one of these people (and make sure to tip extra). “Yes! I’m almost ready. Two more minutes! I’m so sorry.” I go in thinking I want to do a neutral and then find the most perfect red-orange I’ve ever seen. Once I went in with fall colors in mind and by the time my cuticles were pushed back, I had chosen an icy blue.

Then, the other day, while randomly looking at movie color palettes, a favorite pastime, I thought, ‘Huh…that could be a fun nail color option.’ After searching for a bit, I ran across a collection of Wes Anderson movie palettes and decided it’d be fun to try this one from The Royal Tenenbaums:

When I saw it, I instantly knew I would choose this color combo. I switched out the sage green for a sky blue I have, because it suits me a little more. Confession: I have never seen more than five minutes of The Royal Tenenbaums, but it’s on my list!

Here are some other great movie color palettes: The Godfather, Her and The Farewell.

What do you think? Would you try the color palette technique at home? What polish are you wearing right now?

P.S. Do or don’t: matte nails and a great everyday nail polish.

(Nail palette photo from Preview Magazine.)

  1. Kristina says...

    Omg…Thank you for taking me out of the in “indecisive geek squad of me!” 😜 I sometimes paint them then change my mind taking it off and doing another sometimes 5x. Crazy!
    Such an awesome idea you have! Tomorrow is the big repaint day. Can’t wait to try it! Carry on Momma and blessed be 😊

  2. Daisy Talks says...

    Just paint them at home and have a different colour every day. 60second drying polish means you don’t have to designate a whole evening to doing your nails any more!!

  3. CarrieKSMomof2 says...

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that choosing a nail color is as important (and daunting) as it was for me to choose my childrens’ names! This is a super fun idea! I can’t wait to try it out!

  4. Amy says...

    I especially love the yellow on you!

  5. Hilary says...

    This is SO! FUN! And during these dark pandemic days, frankly, the kind of content I am very here for, thank you, Kim!

    I, also, am an indecisive nail color person. So lately I’ve been trying something that makes me feel like a present parent and gets me out of my pale pink hands/red toes rut: I let my 4-year old decide. Her decisions are wacky and fun, and she takes the job of choosing for Mama very seriously. Currently rocking a pale blue with sparkle top coat on my toes (we’re calling it The Elsa – spread the word) and she mentions how SHE chose it every time I take my shoes off.

    Is it tacky as shit? Yes. Does my sweet little girl feel seen and special about it? Also yes. Or at least, I really hope so.

    • Jessica says...

      I love it! I’m sure having Mom wear her nail color choices will be a great memory for her to look back on :)

  6. Lauren says...

    I love this SO much! Kim your nails look beautiful :)

  7. Natalie Joy says...

    LOVE this. trying out a grand budapest hotel color scheme today :)

  8. Brenna says...

    Color Street is my go too! There are so many choices and they are gorgeous! Coop De’Nail with Tara on Facebook! We play games and no pressure to buy! Ask for a sample!

  9. Erica Lee says...

    Haha, SO relatable! I love this idea and now I want to binge W.A. movies this weekend with an at home mani. Haha…

  10. Lisa says...

    Ahh, this makes me feel so validated! For years I have had the habit of painting my nails the different shades of a color collection or the colors of what I’ve purchased recently, instead of all one color or all one + one complimentary/contrasting nail. Finally fashionable!

  11. Becca says...

    <> you are a genius

  12. Katie says...

    GREAT IDEA! I can never pick a color, either. This totally gives me some direction. 💜

    • AnnMarie Plotner says...

      You too!

  13. JKS says...

    Kim! I have to say you are my nail muse. I remember when you guys posted the pictures of your one pink painted hand and the other was a beautiful orange-red. I immediately tried it at my next manicure and loved it. I definitely think this is brilliant and I can’t wait to try it!

  14. Mel says...

    Love this! I was never much of a mani person before the pandemic as any and all nail polish makes my nails peel but I’ve been craving seeing color while I’m working at home. I’ve started using press-on nails (they’ve come a looooong way from the horror of the ’90s) and it’s been so lovely. I’ve been using Static and I can usually get two separate wears out of their box of 24 but always end up with a few left over. I’m going to keep them with the goal of doing something like this!

  15. Shelley says...

    What about a color palette from Bridgerton? The Bridgerton family vs. the Featherington family palette would be a fun contrast. I’ve been searching for a saturated Daphne blush color.

    • Alice says...

      I love this idea! the show really plays with color and patterns. it would be great nail art inspiration.

  16. I’ve always said, “the longest part of your manicure is choosing your nail colour!” LOL! I will try the movie palette suggestion. I see mention of another product, have you tried GelMoment? I have had years of trouble with my nails (health issues), until I found GelMoment. Full disclosure, I sell it BUT, I sell it because it gives me a safe, beautiful, longlasting manicure without hurting my fragile nails. Removing the product is like Magic for me since it was that step that gave me the most trouble. From that moment on, I had to share with everyone!

  17. Elizabeth says...

    Love this! I am so picky and indecisive picking colors too. I started using Flora 1761 polish a few years ago. The colors are so special and unique – they feel like they’re hand-picked for me.

  18. Danielle says...

    Has anyone tried Olive & June? I’m so curious but hesitant to spend the money! I’m terrible at painting my own nails and am wondering if the poppy would really help. Thanks ladies! :)

    • Cynthia says...

      My daughter received an Olive and June set as a Christmas present from a friend. She said the poppy makes all the difference in painting your nails, and it helps you to do a nice job.

    • MK says...

      I’m obsessed with Olive and June. Not just the Poppy but their other products are great as well. Their polish is awesome and the colors are amazing. I have the manicure set and I’m in love. I have never been great at painting my nails either- I’ve been watching their tutorials and practicing and I’m getting better!

    • Kate says...

      I started using a few olive and june polishes late last year and I love them! I didn’t buy the poppy but still find the rounded brush shape makes application easier, and I get lots of comments on the colors!

    • Danielle says...

      Wow!! Thank you all so much! Can always count on the cup of jo community! :)

    • Rachel Anne Krug says...

      Not to sound like a crazy fan, but once I started using Olive & June I literally threw out all my other nail polish (which was old, but still). Super cute colors, saturated color in 2 coats, and a lasting power of a week with an almost-perfect manicure and a second week with a few chips.
      The Poppy is really easy to grip and use. They sell them at Target now too, to try them out in an easier way.

    • Andrea says...

      I find the poppy helps when used with my dominant hand, but makes painting with my non-dominant hand even harder, oddly. I rarely use it. I think you could just watch their instagram tutorials and improve technique. I do like my kit, though. The polish remover pot is so quick and easy that you can practice over and over in one sitting.

  19. M says...

    LOVE, that is such a cute mani!

  20. Alison says...

    This comment is not related to this extremely cute nail post!
    I had a bout of insomnia last night and went into a deep dive of old Cup of Jo articles (I loved the White House party! What a doozy it’s been since then). Eventually I fell asleep to sweet dreams of Joanna and co. ❤️

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Awww that makes me happy <3

  21. Rusty says...

    I have numb hands… a combination of nerve damage and post-chemo side effects. I do my own nails. I get the polish and top coat on my fingers/toes as well as my nails, no matter how hard I try!

    This trick makes people think I’ve had them done at a salon!!!
    THE NEXT DAY, USE A LOOFAH HAND MIT AND RUB THE EXCESS POLISH OFF YOUR SKIN = PERFECT JOB!!! 🤩

    Try it. You’ll be impressed!

  22. RS says...

    I have been a so-so nail painter for years, and this year I decided I was going to buckle down and learn to do it right. I pick my cuticles and having painted nails is the only thing that curbs the habit. I got a nail system from Olive and June and everything about it makes it easier – the polish is amazing, there’s this topper you put on the polish bottle that makes it easier to paint with your non-dominant hand, there are dry drops so you don’t need to sit around forever, and I routinely keep the manicure looking great for 10 days (and I don’t own a dishwasher, so there’s a LOT of abuse going on!). I am in no way associated with them, but I’m a huge fan. Highly recommended if at-home manicures have eluded you.

    https://oliveandjune.com/products/the-mani-system

    • Have you tried Color Street? It’s a game changer!

  23. Christa says...

    Love it! Why does picking out a new nail color always seem like a major life decision?! :)

  24. Cph says...

    I think you are either a Wes Anderson fan or you aren’t (and I’m not) but I am totally a fan of your nails, Kim, as well as your rings! So elegant – any stories behind them?

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Thank you so much, CPH! No special story, I just love rings and mixing up different types! xoxo

  25. meg says...

    Olive and June has great colors and they last long. I have been using the dry drops and the nail primer.

  26. ginny says...

    love it! And I like your version with the blue better too!

  27. Tess says...

    I feel like I post this on every nail-polish post, but HOW DO YOU DO IT?! I am a grown ass woman who 100% cannot have painted nails without them peeling/cracking/chipping/smudging instantly. Even the best professional manicure lasts me maybe 48 hours. What am I doing wrong?!

    • Kate says...

      You’re not doing anything wrong! I’m exactly the same. I tried following all the tutorials with all the undercoats and basecoats, keeping them dry for 24 hours, nothing worked. I finally started getting acrylic nails, but very thin and short and natural and I LOVED that I could finally have painted nails! My esthetician actually ordered a special acrylic for thin, flexible nails because she said out of everyone she sees only me and one other girl had the type of nails that just flex too much and that’s why my nail polish always chipped.

      Shellac manicures worked for me as well, but only last about two weeks. I got my arcrylic nails done about every 4 weeks (and they cost the same as shellac) and had no issues with chipping or anything. Now that I can’t see her I’ve tried ordering coloured nail wraps from Etsy. So far, not impressed. Also considering ordering my own UV light and shellac polish. I wish I had the luxury of just buying nail polish and painting my own nails at home. Imagine!

    • E says...

      1. Dazzle dry nail polish. Not gel but somehow doesn’t chip for like two weeks. I always chip my nails and this one works!!
      2. The olive and June kit is excellent. My nails have never looked so good from an at-home manicure

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Hi, Tess! SAME! I used a gel nail polish with a gel top coat to help with that, and I’ve never looked back! hope this helps! xoxoxo

    • Mags says...

      ME TOO! I am also a grown-ass woman who only wears clear nail polish because I cannot keep nail polish from chipping. Any advice is appreciated.

  28. Hannah says...

    Ooooooh this is brilliant, Kim! I love the look of multicolor nails, but am never sure how to choose a palette and end up overthinking it. I guess that settles my weekend plans :)

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Hannah! There’s no right or wrong way! you could choose just two colors or jump in with five! xoxoxo

  29. Jessica Camerata says...

    I always love these on other people, but then I just go for my usual cherry red or burgundy and never stray far from there. Love all these fun shades!

    xo Jessica

  30. Amanda says...

    Love it! I’m an avid nail biter and the only thing that stops me is freshly painted (i.e., no chips) nails. So, my nails are *always* done. I usually just rotate a white or red or pink from my ever-growing Essie collection, but for the past two months I’ve worn nothing but Tenoverten’s Austin, a denim blue that is the exact color of my Subaru Crosstrek, ha. Tenoverten is available at Target and seems to chip less than any color I’ve used before. Also, I use and have converted many friends to Essie gel topcoat as *the* fast drying, long-lasting, shiny topcoat for any nail polish… highly recommend both!

  31. Em says...

    love! now I want to get my nails done

  32. AmandaY says...

    Ha! Same. I started arriving a few minutes earlier prior to my appointment so I could spend more time choosing a colour! Typically, I choose one, and by the time it comes time to apply, my eyes have darted back and forth to what others have chosen and to the ‘nail wall’ to see if anything else caught me eye!

    I’ve been keen on Sally Hansen hard as nails in rose tint , less room for error when I am doing it at home! They look great Kim, and I love you small stacking ring on your index finger. Its gorgeous! xx

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Thank you! and I think we’re the same person at the nail salon! Arrive early, always change minds by the time my cuticles are pushed back haha. xoxoxo

  33. Audrey says...

    I love your nails so much, Kim!! This is really inspiring me to do something similar –– so much more fun than my typical 1 color : )

  34. Annie says...

    I love this idea!! I’m definitely going to steal it

  35. Angie says...

    I always end up with one nail of each colour I liked and it feels so childish. Now i’m going to smugly tell people they are colour palettes from hopelessly hip movies.

  36. Claudia says...

    Love those colors! Thank you for the inspiration.

  37. Rae says...

    Yes, yes, yes! That range makes a beautiful manicure. Do watch the Royal Tennenbaums, it is a visual treat from beginning to end and worth it just for the interiors.

  38. Alison says...

    Just the kind of fun post I needed today. I’ve never seen Movie Palettes or painted my nails more than one color, but you’ve inspired me. Maybe I’ll watch the movie too!

  39. Maywyn says...

    Thank you!
    The color palette way is a neat infusion of fun into selecting nail polish colors. Wearing smoother silver glitter gray. I like pastels with a dab of glitter on the moons, but the child labor mica mining issue greatly reduces that style for me.

  40. JennX says...

    So the same!! It takes me forever and then I regret my decision after the first coat and then I love it by the time I leave the salon- LOL!!

  41. Mary F Bly says...

    those nails…chef’s kiss

  42. Andrea says...

    LOVE

  43. Meghan says...

    This reminds me of the nails that Casey Mulligan had painted in Promising Young Woman. (Have you seen it? I’m still thinking about it over a week later. The most moving, thought-provoking, powerful, alarming film I’ve seen in years) The whole aesthetic of the main character is so integral to the story and her nails are a big part of it.

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      It’s on my list! When I watch, I’ll be looking at her nails, too. Thanks! xoxo

  44. Kate says...

    All of those colors are amazing! I have giant nail beds so when I paint my nails it is a LOT of color, so it’s really hard for me to commit. I’m inspired to go multi now!

    I have never seen Tenenbaums the whole way through. I’ve fallen asleep 3 times trying to watch The Life Aquatic. I like a lot of Wes Anderson, but every move isn’t for everyone!

  45. Vero says...

    I love this so much!

  46. I just love the nail color names.

    –motownsavvy

  47. Ro says...

    Kim, this is too funny! Not only did I just turn on The Royal Tenenbaums (and I’m five minutes in, weird), I also just painted my nails! Bright neon green though. (If you want to see the rest of the movie it’s on Amazon Prime, if you have that!)

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      I do! It’s on my list to watch tonight! xoxo

  48. Caroline says...

    I love this so much. Thanks, Kim! Your nails look fabulous!!

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      thank you!! xoxo

  49. Meg says...

    I love that color palette, Kim. I am also super picky about color and have been known to take forever at the nail salon. Picking paint colors for the walls of my house was borderline absurd. I don’t know what it is but the perfect color makes my heart sing and something a few shades different feels ‘meh.’

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      I absolutely understand this, thus my anxiety around choosing the right color(s)! you are totally not alone! xoxo

  50. Abby says...

    @Katie Weltner — I usually paint my nails and then do something that deliberately involves me sitting still and not touching anything, like put on a (sheet) facemask or wear this eye/temple massager thing that my husband has. Both of those are only for like 15 min though, but that’s long enough for my nails to dry — maybe the real question is: why is your polish taking an hour to dry?? An hour is a super long time to not do anything else with your hands! Maybe switch to a faster-drying formulation?

  51. Julie says...

    You nailed that manicure, Kim!
    (OMG I can’t believe I am actually writting and SENDING this comment haha)

  52. Anne says...

    Now that’s a fun way to choose nail color. Thanks for the inspiration!

  53. Colleen says...

    I love this sooo much! Color palettes in movies feel really intentional, so they are the perfect inspiration.

  54. AG says...

    Oh hi fellow nail polish enthusiast! The Tiffany blue and Salmon Pink polish looks great on your skin tone. The bright red is my favorite too.

    I have fave colors I rotate, all Essie- Serene Slate, Chinchilly, Licorice and the classic Bordeaux.

  55. liz says...

    i like this! & looks great

    other fun options–
    russian doll
    the queen’s gambit
    star trek next gen
    hilda
    . . .

  56. This. Is. Genius. And so much fun!

  57. Katie Weltner says...

    I feel like I need a guide…. “how to paint your nails and sit STILL for an hour so you don’t mess them up”. Soooo many times I paint my nails, then 30 min later decide I have to, like, unbutton my pants or fold laundry or make dinner, and I look down and my pretty nails are smudged.

    • lauraa says...

      thin coats and a great quality top coat! the Seche blue bottle one is my fave.

    • Lola says...

      Katie, no guide needed, the trick is finishing them with a fast drying top coat and they will be dry in minutes. It’s magical! If this wasn’t around, my nails would never get painted :)

    • Meg says...

      You need a quick try topcoat! I use Seche Vite topcoat and nails are dry waaay faster than without, I never smudge them anymore.

    • Vero says...

      You could try painting them with a quick dry top coat! This is a saving grace because I do the same thing every time unless I’m using a quick dry top coat

    • celeste says...

      You should try Color Street Nails.

    • Meredith says...

      I use Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dri topcoat – just a couple of minutes and your nails are dry and hard! I wouldn’t even bother painting my nails without it, I always smudge. When I would go to the nail salon sometimes, I would bring it with me and ask them to use it too.

    • Emily says...

      I hate to admit it, but if you are serious about loving your nails painted, there’s a set from Dazzle Dry that takes a specific system that you buy from them but your nails are 100000000% completely dry in 5 mins. Doing my nails/having them done is a big part of my self care so I have invested in the kit (they have mini ones for like $35) but I love it

    • Molly says...

      This, for real. I feel like a failure as a woman bc I cannot, for the LIFE OF ME, paint my nails without them looking like a 4 yr-old did it. I kid about failing as a woman, but I’m so envious of people like Kim and Caroline who always have fun polished nails. HOWWWWWW?!?! Is the secret to force your partner to paint your dominant hand? Bc I’ve tried that too, and it looked like a 6 yr-old did it…improvement, but not much.

  58. AS says...

    I am 29 years old and my friend just painted my nails a sparkly blue. And now I don’t know how I’ve gone so long without sparkly nails! Sparkles every day now, especially when “professional” is just Zooming from my house.

    • celeste says...

      Would love to hear the color!

    • Kari T. says...

      Yes!! I was sporting flamingo pink with disco ball blush pink glitter on top, I’m quickly approaching 38. I need all of the glitter right now.

  59. KAP says...

    Love the color combo and they look beautiful on you Kim!

  60. SP says...

    I love this and I love your cute rings!!!

    You always have the best polish advice– I paint my nails two different shades of blue all the time and always think about your beauty uniform when you painted your nails red and pink! <3

    • Veronica says...

      I have been eagerly awaiting my first post-pandemic manicure to try this out! I was inspired by Kim but suck at doing my own nails so plan to entrust this one to a professional.

  61. Skye says...

    Cool! That color scheme looks really pretty on you.

    • Lauren says...

      Hi! This is so lovely! Did you order these as a set? Can you please link where you got these from?

  62. Laura says...

    Kim! You should watch the Royal Tenenbaums. Please post your thoughts, or live tweet them. Also, your nails look awesome.

    • ALL the Wes Anderson are a Must!!! Pure dreamy warm fuzzy funny unusual and of so arty!! Will give you loads of colour combo’s!!

  63. Mariana says...

    That color palette feed is so interesting! When I was in my twenties I had the same kind of paralisis because I tried every color of the rainbow. But now (thirties) it’s even more ridiculous because it takes me too long to make up my mind, only to end up choosing pink! Baby pink, dusty rose, hot pink…as long as it’s pink, I’m sold. But it takes me the same 8 minutes thinking “maybe today is the day I’ll wear that beautiful green…”. Your nails look amazing!

  64. Leah says...

    Kim, would you mind sharing the brand/color of the polish on your middle finger? I love it!

  65. Liane says...

    Love this! I always get stuck choosing a color too because I want to be sure I’m in the mood for that color. Have been using Dashing Diva Nail Strips lately. I can mix it up and get a lot of mileage out of them!

  66. Steph G says...

    Fav.or.rite. movie ever. Go watch it!!!!!!! Kim, I think you one said you’re an enneagram 4? Well you can’t be an enneagram 4 and not watch this immediately. ;) (I’m kidding. Sort of.)

  67. Vanessa says...

    That looks so cute!!! Love that idea.

  68. liz says...

    /Just realized it’s been over a year since I’ve gotten my nails done : (

  69. liz says...

    so cute!! // the Royal Tenenbaums is my favorite movie!

  70. Karla H says...

    That color palette is amazing!

  71. celeste says...

    The Farewell, but I haven’t seen the movie. Wearing Essie Watermelon.

    • nadine says...

      I loved the movie ! If you have the chance to see it.. :)