50 Tattoo Ideas For Women Looking For Big Or Small Meaningful Designs

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woman getting a tattoo

We've gathered the best tattoo ideas for women for anyone in need of a little inspiration.

Choosing the right tattoo design — big, small or somewhere in between — can be a meaningful way showcase your interests and express yourself. Through your ink, you can wear your heart on your sleeve, sometimes quite literally. This form of self-expression is beautiful and completely personal. It is your body, your canvas — and you choose what you put on it.

Whether you go as big as a full sleeve or as small as a tiny heart hidden somewhere most people will never see, your tattoos become a part of who you are. Whatever you choose, be it an animal, a special quote, or an abstract symbol, the design you choose should speak to your soul.

RELATED: What Does Getting A Tattoo Feel Like? The Truth About How Painful It Really Is

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If you need some inspiration, listed below are 50 of the most beautiful tattoos for women — big, small and all sizes in between.

50 Tattoo Ideas for Women

Nature and Flower Tattoos

1. Peony Tattoo

Photo by Lana Graves on Unsplash

Peony meanings: romance, prosperity, good fortune, a happy marriage, riches, honor, compassion and bashfulness.

This floral design is an intricate statement piece. The beautiful placement on the neck makes it stand out as bold, beautiful and feminine.

2. Dandelion Tattoo

Photo by Daniel Apodaca on Unsplash

Dandelion meaning: Emotional, physical and spiritual healing.

Make a wish and sending it soaring. Dandelions are a powerful symbol of emotional, physical and spiritual healing, making them the perfect choice for a beautiful, unique and meaningful tattoo.

3. Rose Tattoo

Photo by fotografierende on Unsplash

This rose is simple yet still so eye-catching. Roses having different meanings depending on their color.

White rose meaning: purity, innocence, reverence, a new beginning, a fresh start.

Red rose meaning: love, I love you.

Deep, dark crimson rose meaning: mourning.

Pink rose meaning: grace, happiness, gentleness.

Yellow rose meaning: joy, friendship, the promise of a new beginning.

Orange rose meaning: desire and enthusiasm.

Lavender rose meaning: love at first sight.

Coral rose meaning: friendship, modesty, sympathy.

4. Handful of Flower Tattoos

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

This tattoo screams girl power. The softly shaded flowers are feminine, with the placement across the back of the entire hand and on each finger making a strong, empowering statement.

5. Sunflower Tattoo

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Sunflower meaning: happiness, adoration, loyalty and longevity.

This sunflower shoulder tattoo makes a splash with its large yet sweet design. Bold and beautiful all in one, a floral ray of sunshine like this will light up anyone's day when they see you.

6. Watercolor Pansy Tattoo

Photo by Chris Hardy on Unsplash

Pansy meanings: loving feelings, thoughts, free-thinking, and consideration for others.

Water-color tattoos have a special sort of charm about them. This style is perfectly suited to the whimsical nature of the free-thinking symbolism associated with pansies.

7. Vine Tattoo

Photo by felipe pelaquim on Unsplash

Vine meanings: divinity, life, faith and provision.

This wrist tattoo design is simple yet so eye-catching. The winding vine fits perfectly around an arm or ankle for a pretty, though not flashy, look.

8. Arrow Pointing North Tattoo

Photo by Natalie Rhea Riggs on Unsplash

Arrow meanings: arrowns can have different meanings, depending on the number shown and the direction in which their pointing.

A straight lone arrow like this one typically symbolizes protection and defense from potential harm.

9. Butterfly Tattoo

Photo by Everett Collection / Shutterstock

Butterfly meanings: resurrection, endurance, change, hope, and life.

Butterflies are perhaps the most emblematic representation of the most beautiful and fragile aspects of life. Whether delicately placed just behind the ear or spread proudly across your choice, butterly tattoos are timelessly classic.

10. Dragonfly Tattoo

Photo by Rawpixel / Shutterstock

Dragonfly meanings: transformation, change, self-realization, and adaptability.

Dragonfly tattoos are a perfect choice for anyone going through or just arriving on the other side of a major life transition.

11. Queen Bee Tattoo

Photo by Scott Goodwill on Unsplash

Queen bee meanings: female leadership and ampowerment.

If you're a CEO or just a boss in your daily life, a queen bee tattoo is an excellent way to express your confidence in your leadership skills.

12. Feather Tattoo

Photo by Rawpixel / Shutterstock

Feather meanings: trust, honor, strength, wisdom, power, and freedom.

A gently inked feather tattoo is a beautiful symbol of graceful strength and quiet independence.

RELATED: 40 Stunning Nature-Inspired Tattoo Ideas For You To Get If You Love The Outdoors & Traveling

Bird and Animal Tattoos

13. Robin Tattoo

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Robin meanings: hope, rebirth, family, courtship, home, and the loving heart (but may also symbolize danger and death).

This robin design is simple but beautiful, proving you don't have to have a lot going on for a tattoo to be interesting.

14. Lion Tattoo

Photo by João Silas on Unsplash

Lion meanings: majesty, strength, courage, justice, and military might.

Nothing shows that you have a special connection with your fierce nature like a magnificent lion tattoo. Mix it up with some geometric shapes to make it look new, feminine and modern.

15. Flying Birds Tattoo

Photo by Luismi Sánchez on Unsplash

Soaring birds meaning: goals, hopes, and aspirations.

Different birds have different symbolic meanings, but generally, a flock of birds soaring freely together is said to be a positive sign of spiritual development.

16. Octopus Tattoo

Photo by Bruce Dixon on Unsplash

Octopus meanings: flexibility, creativity, intelligence, expansion and unpredictability.

This design is so intricate and detailed it is hard to say it is anything less than impressive to see such a creative tattoo symbolizing your quirky nature and/or your love of the ocean and marine life.

17. Owl Tattoo

Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Owl meanings: wisdom, femininity, intuition, regal silence.

This one is interesting and magical, and can fit perfectly on your arm or thigh as a silent witness to your wise nature.

18. Cat Tattoo

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Cat meanings: spiritual instinct, fertility, richness, and healing.

This adorable cartoon-like feline is just one of many ways you can go with a cat or kitten tattoo. Just be sure you're prepared to hear a seemingly never-ending stream of meows as people spot your new ink for the first time.

19. Pet Portrait

Photo by Skyler H on Unsplash

The meaning of this type of tattoo needs no explanation. Our pets are one of the greatest gifts we can receive in this life. Inking their portrait on your skin means they will be with you always.

RELATED: 50 Elegant Tattoo Ideas For Women

Sexy Tattoos

20. Skull Tattoo

Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Skull meanings: rebellion, death, mortality, optimistic ideas, overcoming obstacles, and protecting valuables.

Skulls aren't just a spooky symbol. They can be a great way to express the bada$$ rebel you are, as well as your persevering, mysterious nature.

21. Leopard Spots Tattoo

Photo by Blackday / Shutterstock

Leopard meanings: physical strength, perseverance, confidence, power, intelligence, beauty, independence, leadership, steadfastness, swiftness, gracefulness and female mystique.

If you love rocking leopard print, why not give this ultra feminine design a permanent place of honor on your skin?

22. Paw Print Tattoo

Photo of Eve by Everett Collection / Shutterstock

Paw print meanings: moving forward after a loss, ferocity, strength, power, pride, cunning, and the ability to protect those in the pride.

If either a leopard print or a lion's mane is a bit much for you, but you still love those fierce big cats, a simple paw print tattoo is a great way to make your ferocious presence known.

23. Mermaid Tattoo

Photo by Peter Bucks on Unsplash

Mermaid meanings: sacred feminine, renewal, revitalization.

Straightforward, fun and beautiful, a mermaid is a great design choice, especiallyif placed on your ribs or back.

24. Sternum Heart Tattoo

Photo by Mohammad Faruque on Unsplash

Heart meanings: love, life flow, charity, joy and compassion

Hearts are a classic tattoo choice for women because love, life and compassion are concepts that never, ever go out of style.

25. Sassy Fairy Tattoo

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Fairy meanings: spirituality, feminine energy, childhood and beauty.

If you have magic in your heart then this is the design that you will want to have for a tattoo. Tinkerbell herself would be proud.

RELATED: 17 Sexy-As-Hell Thigh Tattoos That Will Make You Want To Show Off Your Legs

Meaningful Tattoos

26. Geometric Heart Tattoo

Photo by Lucas Mendes on Unsplash

This symbolic tattoo could have meaning for you in any of a number of ways, whether in reference to your health, gratitude for life, or simple love.

27. Constellation Tattoo

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Each constellation in the sky bears it's own meaning. Show the world the cosmic queen you are with a beautiful design of the constellation under which you were born.

28. Cross Tattoo

Photo by Velroy Fernandes from Pexels

Let your faith be the design with a simple and deeply meaningful cross tattoo that expresses your most strongly held beliefs.

29. Anchor Tattoo

Photo by Satya Gujjar on Unsplash

Anchor meanings: safety, hope, strength, stability.

Set sail and get ready to receive some compliments on this gorgeous tattoo. If your heart is truly at sea then this is perfect for you.

30. Matching sun and moon tattoos

Photo by Tiffany Combs on Unsplash

If your soul's passion is your best friend, there is no better way to showcase your pairing than with these stunning complimentary sun and moon tattoos.

31. Hamsa Tattoo

Photo by Silvana Carlos on Unsplash

Hamsa meanings: Hamsas are an ancient middle eastern symbol for the hand of God, believed to bring protection, happiness, luck, health, and good fortune.

Simple yet statement worthy, a hamsa tattoo may be exactly what you've been missing in your search for good luck and prosperity.

32. Open Bird Cage

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

Open bird cage meanings: the soul safely set free.

If you are a free spirit or someone who has found freedom from a traumatic situation, this design is a perfect way to claim your commitment to your ongoing independence and emotional well-being.

33. Diamond Tattoo

Photo by Izadora Andrade on Unsplash

Diamond meanings: unbreakable, unchangeable or invincible.

If diamonds are your best friend, this is the tattoo for you. You are as precious as a diamond, so why not?

34. Wings Tattoo

Photo by ldutko / Shutterstock

Wing meanings: freedom, liberation, victory, determination to overcome any adversity.

With a set of glorious wings permanently inked on your skin, you'll have a constant reminder that you are free to take flight at your will.

35. Mandala Spine Tattoo

Photo by Mariano Nocetti on Unsplash

Mandala meanings: enlightenment, healing, peace, balance, eternity, and perfection.

Mandalas, all of which are based on circles, make for mesmerizing tattoos. They can be designed In just about any size, shape and color pattern you could dream of, and look stunning when placed anywhere on the body.

36. Moon Phases Tattoo

Photo by Carrie Nelson on Unsplash

Moon meanings: feminine energy, the rhythm of time, immortality, eternity, and enlightenment.

The various phases of the moon in it's monthly cycle are symbolic of a deep connection to the spiritual side of the universe, as well as to the complete cycle of life.

37. Dream Catcher Tattoo

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

Dream catchers are protective talisman used by Native American tribes to catch dreams both good and bad, allowing the good ones to pass through and stopping bad ones before they have a chance to do any harm.

38. Eye of Horus Tattoo

Photo of Marisa Tomei's eye of horus tattoo by carrie-nelson / Shutterstock

Eye of Horus meanings: protection, royal power, and good health.

The Eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol of the Horus, the sky god, who was depicted as a falcon. The symbols was used to protect the Pharaoh in the afterlife, ward off evil, and ensure safe travels.

39. Planets Tattoo

Photo by Bartłomiej Balicki on Unsplash

Meaning of the planets: the will of the gods and their direct influence upon human affairs, basic drives or urges in the unconscious, energy flowing through all dimensions of experience.

If you are a big picture thinker, a winding tattoo of our universe's planets all along your spine is beautiful way to let the world.

40. Taurus (Or Other Zodiac Sign-Related) Tattoo

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

While this tattoo represents Taurus and it's symbolic animal, the bull, your own zodiac sign's symbol is a great option for a meaningful tattoo design.

RELATED: 12 Amazing Zodiac Tattoos You'll Want To Copy Immediately

Unique Tattoos

41. Origami Lotus Tattoo

Photo by Scott Dumas / Shutterstock

Lotus meanings: purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration and rebirth.

Lotus tattoos have a special meaning. These beautiful flowers grow in mud, which for many symbolizes making your way through a path of hardships in life.

42. Edgar Allen Poe Tattoo

Photo by Gabriel Nunes on Unsplash

If you are a literary maven, this quirky portrait of one of the quirkiest poets of all time should call your name (or was that the raven?).

43. Hand Horns Rocker Tattoo

Photo by Brittie Bendabout on Unsplash

Hand horn meaning: also known as devil's horns or the sign of the horns, this hand gesture originated with Ozzy Osbourne's heavy metal band, Black Sabbath, and has evolved to mean, in a nutshell, "rock on."

You are a rock star, so you deserve a tattoo that emulates that. This design is simple and classy but packs a whole lot of star power.

44. Hourglass Tattoo

Photo by Marcelo Dias on Pexels

Hourglass meanings: cycles of our lives in the cosmos, the passage of time, our status as simple grains of sand.

An hourglass tattoo is a powerful symbol of ephemeral nature of life, as well as a humble reminder of how small a role we each play in the vastness of the universe.

Quote Tattoos

45. One Word Quote Tattoo

Photo by Antonino Visalli on Unsplash

One word, as simple as "music," can say it all.

46. Minimalist Quote Tattoo

Photo by Agathè Yosefina on Unsplash

A simple and minimalist quote tattoo that says, "Do all things with love."

47. Kobe Bryant Quote Tattoo

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

We could all use an inspirational reminder not to give up right now. Bryant's quote, "The strength to make it becomes greater than the fear of missing it" — shown here alongside his jersey numbers 8 and 24 — can serve as a powerful source of continual motivation to keep striving toward your goals.

48. Focus Tattoo

Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

If focus isn't your strong suit, or if it's a skill you deeply admire, this simple word boldly printed across the back of your hand or in another location you'll see often can be a helpful reminder.

49. Biblical Quote Tattoo

Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

Fear not, from Isaiah 41:10, is just one of the many options. Choose the biblical verse that speaks most poignantly to your soul.

50. Brave Quote Tattoo

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

"Guts over fear." This simple quote written in a script tattoo is both tasteful and elegant.

RELATED: 50 Best Tattoo Quotes & Short Inspirational Sayings For Your Next Ink

Tattoo FAQs

1. Are tattoos safe?

As long as you go to a well-trained, qualified tattoo artist in a clean salon, getting a tattoo should be safe. Be sure to let your tattoo know if you take any prescription medications, if you are pregnant, nursing or less than six months post-partum, or if you have a medical condition that could lead to complications, such as a heart condition, diabetes, hemophilia, HIV, hepatitis, severe allergies, or epilepsy.

2. How much do tattoos hurt?

The amount of pain you will or will not feel while getting a tattoo varies depending on factors such as your personal pain threshold, the location of the tattoo on your body, and the artist.

3. How much do tattoos cost?

The price depends on where you live, the experience, skill, and reputation of the artist, as well as on the location, size and intricacy of the design. It's estimated that most tattoo artists charge between $120 to $150 per hour, with prices starting around $50 for a small, simple design and going as high as $4,000 for a custom-designed full back tattoo.

Like most things in life, if you want to have your tattoo done right, it's best not to choose according to the cheapest option. Note that you should also expect to tip your tattoo artist. It's considered polite to tip about 20%.

4. How long do tattoos take to heal?

The most surface layers of your skin should heal within two to three weeks after getting your tattoo, while it may take up to six months for the deeper layers of your skin to heal.

RELATED: 10 Important Ways To Prepare For Your First Tattoo

Best tattoo placements (i.e., locations on the body)

While there is no right or wrong place to get a tattoo on your body, some locations may hurt more than others. Some say parts of the body that contain more nerve endings, those where there is less fat serving as a buffer between your skin and your bone, and those where skin tends to be thin are the most painful.

Most painful locations for tattoos: Armpits, the rib cage, ankles, shins, the head, the face, inner thighs, behind the knee, the neck and inner biceps.

Least painful locations for tattoos: The outer shoulder, calfs, buttocks, the upper-outer thigh, forearms, outer biceps, and upper and lower back.

No matter which tattoo design you choose or where you choose to place it on your body, it's sure to be a meaningful symbol of who you are that you'll love seeing on your body for all of the years to come.

If you enjoyed looking at these tattoo designs and want some more inspiration, check out these ideas:

35 Amazingly Pretty Flower Tattoos That Are Perfect For The Spring & Summer

20 Unique Tattoo Styles & Tattoo Designs To Try The Next Time You're Ready For Some New Ink

Molly Given is a writer who focuses on pop culture, religion and relationship topics.