Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with a romantic dinner date, a girls’ night out, or a feel-good chick-flick and a bowl of popcorn, pamper yourself by painting your nails with these chic and festive designs. You can do it yourself or head to your favorite nail salon, but no matter what, make sure they’re dry in time for whatever plans you have in store for Feb. 14. In fact, February is the perfect time to spruce up those nails, as many salons will have Valentine's Day specials during the month of February. 

Scroll down for art designs, safety tips, nail polish color trends and easy DIY ideas for fresh, artsy nails perfect for salon veterans or newcomers to the world of painted nails. 

A plethora of designs 

From the subtly elegant to the fancy and colorful, these nail art designs will make your hands feel special on Valentine’s Day.

Add a splash of white hearts to classic red: 

red-love-hearts-valentines Go cute with tiny white hearts on a deep red. Photo: Creative Commons

Not every nail has to be the same. Be glittery, romantic and chic at the same time: 

L-O-V-E: Spell it out with white on soft pink...

Show off your intellectual side with this Scrabble-inspired look:

You can be edgy: 
valentines-day-nails-tumblr-2 Feisty red kisses on black for Valentine's Day. Photo: Creative Commons
...or literary:
SallyHansenLove4 Love letters, painted right on, for Valentine's Day. Photo: Creative Commons

Check out more nail designs and ideas here

The do-it-yourself route

For the DIY-ers, essentials include a clear base coat of polish, your base color and any other colors you may want. Here's an extensive list of easy nail-painting hacks, from using Scotch tape to making a Sharpie come in handy, that will help you design and execute perfect nail art.

Safety tips

If you go to a salon, keep in mind these five important safety and beauty tips: 

1. Make sure the salon is licensed, and make sure, to the best of your ability, that it is clean. Check the floor and corners for debris and clippings, and use your judgment.

2. Don't allow the manicurist to cut your cuticles or push them back forcefully. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to be up bacteria or fungus that can cause infection. And if anything hurts during the manicure, tell the technician

3. One of the best ways to avoid picking up germs or an infection is to bring your own tools to the salon, especially if they're made of steel and can be easily cleaned with hydrogen peroxide.

4. If a nail has a problem, don't cover it with artificial ones. 

5. Rub moisturizing cream on your nails after removing nail polish.

Bonus: Top 10 nail salons in NYC.