The rose tattoo is an undeniable classic with endless rose styles to choose from – do you go for Beauty and the Best closed rose, or full-bloom English cottage garden rose? Roses are also easy to scale up and down too, so you can have small rose tattoos and large detailed sprawling designs, which means you have the full choice of placements.
Arms, tops of thighs, chest, and collarbone areas are always popular, but you’ll find some more unusual placements in our rose tattoo lookbook as well.
But before we delve into that, do you know the rose tattoo meaning?
A Brief History of Rose Tattoos
Roses originated in Persia (modern day Iran) and were traditionally a masculine symbol. We can see why – roses are quite bold and bright! Nowadays, roses are more often seen as a feminine symbol (as all flowers are) but that doesn’t stop both men and women getting roses inked on their skin.
Rose tattoos have always been popular since the modern tattoo came about. In the 1930s and when the American traditional tattoo style was developed, men would often get roses tattooed on their bodies to symbolize love for a woman – a romantic partner or their mother!
The meaning behind a rose is nearly always love. But tattoos are usually more complex than this. Selecting a specific rose color can have a deeper meaning:
- White – innocence
- Yellow – friendship
- Orange – passion
- Pink – sweet femininity
- Red – true love
- Lilac – royalty
- Green – peace
- Blue – unrequited love
- Black – death
Combining the rose ink with another design also adds meaning. E.g., a rose with a compass could mean “follow your heart”.
60 Rose Tattoo Design Ideas
Here we go! 60 rose tattoo ideas that will get you itching for some new ink.
Compass Rose Tattoo
This rose and compass tattoo creates a full sleeve. The blackwork and scale of the tattoo has really allowed the artist to get in a lot of detail! Detailed shading like this works really well with rose designs, thanks to the layered petals and velvety texture.
Gypsy Rose Tattoo
The Gypsy Rose Tattoo originates from the traditional American tattoo movement, with those bold colors and solid lines. Often these roses would be combined with a pin-up portrait, an anchor, or other symbol typical of the American traditional style. Red roses look best in this style.
Rose Black Tattoo
This is an interesting tattoo and full of hidden meaning. Instead of creating the rose with black ink, it has been filled in completely. It’s like a silhouette or shadow of a rose. This could symbolize a lost love or feeling like your heart is missing.
Rose Red Tattoo
We love this simple beautiful red rose tattoo. Adding small green leaves is a nice touch and gives the tattoo a more natural vibe. We also really like the placement on the lower calf. The way it wraps around the leg brings the design to life.
Rose Blue Tattoo
Even with those blurry watercolor inks, you can tell immediately that this is a rose. Blue often symbolizes unrequited or unattainable love as a rose. Combined with that thorny stem and the moon symbol, it’s clear that this rose tattoo is full of yearning. Stunning artwork!
Having multiple roses tattooed on your body can alter the meaning. A pink rose for your sister and yellow rose for your brother, for example. Combining roses with names creates a very personal tattoo. You could also have a rose tattoo for every decade of your life.
Rose Tattoo on Hand
The hand is a popular placement for rose tattoos as the circular shape creates a great canvas for a rounded, full-blooming rose. We like this black and white one because it artfully works with the existing tattoos on the arm… without becoming a full sleeve.
Rose Tattoo on Arm
A classic rose but with a little more detail than usual. We love the bright red colors used for the petals, plus the muted black-green color of the stalk – it adds a slightly gothic rose appeal without being too dark and overly focused on death.
Rose Tattoo on Shoulder
The round shape of a rose in bloom is great for rounded areas of your body, just like your shoulder. This tattoo example shows how a rose fits nice only the shoulder but can also work trailing up your neck – or going down your arm.
Traditional Rose Tattoo
The traditional American style rose has some rules – a set color palette, thick bold lines, a blooming rose from above, and thorny leaves. It’s truly a classic and it looks great as part of sleeves or floating alone on an arm, thigh, hip or anywhere else.
Rose Tattoo Sleeve
This is a beautiful example of how roses can create a very solid sleeve on your arm. The rounded, full flower heads can overlap and crowd together, so there are no gaps in the design – besides the glaringly obvious cross in this specific rose tattoo example!
Simple Rose Tattoo
This simple rose tattoo is also a line tattoo, but you can definitely add some shading and still call it simple! Roses are very versatile flowers – their petal shape changes drastically from bud to full bloom, giving you a lot of freedom in style and placement.
Rose Neck Tattoo
Rose neck tattoos are typically medium-large and on the side of the neck, or very small and curling behind the ear. This one is detailed and quite stunning. It shows the rose in different stages of growth. Perhaps it symbolizes a love that only grows stronger.
Also Read: 70+ Coolest Neck Tattoos for Men
Money Rose Tattoo
The meaning of a rose tattoo made up of dollar bills is simple – love for money and a reminder to work hard. It suggests that you love what you do. After all, they say that if you truly love your job, you’ll never “work” a day.
Amber Rose Tattoo
There are so many meanings here. An amber-colored rose, a tattoo of the woman Amber Rose, or the tattoos that Amber Rose has. But let’s take a look at the rose tattoo Amber Rose has on her arm. It’s part of her sleeve and looks gorgeous.
Yellow Rose Tattoo
The style of this tattoo is neo-Japanese and we truly love it. The sharp edges and linework is beautiful placed on top of the slightly blurred colors beneath. The foot and ankle area is a slightly more unusual placement, but it works so very well here.
Elbow Rose Tattoo
Just like the rose shoulder tattoo example above, the elbow is a great placement for roses. Spiderwebs are another option here – but maybe you could combine both to create gothic rose elbow tattoos! Keep in mind that this placement is quite high on the tattoo pain scale.
Grayscale Rose Tattoo
The black, white and grey design is really beautiful with roses. The way the petals fold in and spill out creates plenty of depth and dimension for your tattoo artist to play with. We like this simplified style because it looks great scaled up or down.
Matching Roses Tattoo
Matching roses can be great tattoos to get with a friend, relative or lover. Change the color of the rose to symbolize it or create a simple line tattoo like this couple have. The hand placement is really nice, but behind the ear is great too.
Rose and Skull Tattoo
Often with rose skull tattoos, the rose grows from the skull or the skull is part of the rose bloom. And that’s why we really like this idea. It’s just a bit different in a good way. The lack of color works really well here.
Botanical Rose Tattoo
Botanical prints are a really popular trend. They’re on t-shirts, tote bags, and now on our bodies too. This rose is designed to be realistic. It’s not perfect, with petals missing, but it’s the style itself that’s so attractive. Add the Latin name Rosa to finish.
Rose and Heart Tattoo
This evocative tattoo is beautifully placed along the inner forearm! The rose stem piercing the heart is true symbolism too. It represents your heart being captured and pierced with love. Who does the rose represent? Only this guy knows! It would look great in color.
Rose and Sword Tattoo
The sword entwined with roses is a beautiful image and can have numerous meanings. We love the delicate artwork of this – usually roses are quite big and bold, but here they are subtle. Perhaps it means that they fight for love, or it gives strength.
Rose Tattoo Line Work
This is a gorgeous rose tattoo that will look great in any placement, so long as the tattoo can be large. The wide gaps and fine lines create a network of roses, but somehow, it looks complete. Without color, this tattoo will match any outfit.
Spiderweb Rose Tattoo
This Fall rose is beautiful and utterly unique. The mustard yellow color is a classic at this time of year and the cobweb just adds to the aesthetic. We think that this tattoo was created to be taken at face value, but there could be meaning.
Red and Black Line Rose Tattoo
Something about this tattoo reminds us of Beauty and the Beast! The rose captured in a heart shape, with glints of sparkling light. It’s very romantic and a little bit Disney. It looks great scaled up on a forearm or even upper arm.
Rose Tattoo for Men
This line artwork is beautiful. It’s created with one single flowing line that goes back and forth to create a sketch of a rose. This is true tattoo artwork, and we love it. You could add red and green watercolor splashes behind the linework too.
Gothic Rose Tattoo
Blackwork rose tattoos are on another level entirely. We love that this rose tattoo example is mixed up with other gothic tattoos in the same style. It’s also showing how the lower leg can be a great placement for a rose tatt or even a sleeve.
Mid Back Tattoo
The botanical rose with the geometric snake is an eclectic mix of styles but it just works so well. This was made by a very talented tattoo artist! We love the placement too – the mid back area can be a great canvas for larger tattoo designs.
Minimalist Rose Tattoo
The curvy, blooming rose is placed nicely behind the ear. It’s easily covered up with her hair, or shown off when desired. We love it! The talented tattoo artist managed to get in an impressive amount of detail too. We would love to see it colored.
Stained Glass Rose Tattoo
The stained glass effect looks truly stunning with rose tattoo designs. This one is encapsulated in a simple heart shape. You could get this on your wrist, ankle, or even turn it upside down and place it just below and between your breasts. Truly stunning!
Rose and Snake Tattoo
The snake curled around a rose originates from traditional American and Japanese styles but has since been adapted to many different tattoo styles. Blackwork is popular for rose snake tattoos, as is line work. This is a great example of a well-placed rose snake tatt.
Continuous Line Rose Tattoo
At only 2.5 inches across, you’d think that tiny rose tattoos can’t add much detail. That’s not entirely true, as this line rose tattoo proves. The continuous line unravels to create a beautiful rose shape that fits neatly along the clavicle bone on one side.
Forearm Rose Tattoo
The forearm is possibly the most popular tattoo placement and it’s ideal for roses too. The long, oblong shape of the forearm is good for long designs. A single rose and stalk, or a bunch of roses like you can see in this romantic tattoo example.
Heart-Shaped Rose Tattoo
Rather than roses and a heart, this is a heart-shaped rose! We love that this isn’t a perfect heart. The outer shape dips and curves, with the blooming rose inside. The pink shade may just be because the tatt is fresh, but we like it anyway.
Cartoon Skull Rose Tattoo
We love the cartoon style of this gothic rose! It has lovely rounded petals and a cute skull at the center. Look closer – did you spot that the petals are actually money? This is a brilliant example of a Japanese rose tattoo in blackwork style.
Chest Rose Tattoo (Men)
Many chest tattoos fall right at the center of your ribcage, but this rose tattoo shows you how to go for something a little more unusual. The bouquet of roses falls elegantly at an angle across the chest and heart area. Nipple piercings are optional!
Rose and Date Tattoo
This is a sweet minimalist rose tattoo. It features two numbers. Dates? Lucky numbers? Ages? Who knows! This rose tattoo is full of meaning and is in a sensual, private placement. If you don’t want everyone to see your tattoo, this is a good idea.
Butterfly Rose Tattoo
Isn’t this stunning! Tiny blue butterflies are adorable. Blue roses are romantic. Combine them and you’re onto a winner. This tattoo is very feminine and looks great on wrists, ankles, forearms, and maybe even inner hip areas. You can choose any color, not just bright blue!
Rose Ice Cream Ink
This is a great example of how you can take a classic like a rose bloom, then turn it into something totally fresh and unique. Rose bouquet as an ice cream cone. Genius! The botanical style looks good, but a cartoon style could also work.
All Boxed Up
Roses are naturally flowing, with curved petals and elegant lines. But if you want a geometric tattoo or a rose tattoo that won’t look out of place next to geometric art, then this is a neat solution. The simplicity of the boxed up rose is eye-catching.
Another stunning use of colors! The almost neon fluorescent quality of this rose tattoo is so eye-catching and very modern. Make sure you take good care of your tattoo to keep it as vibrant and fresh for as long as possible. Go buy lots of coconut oil!
If you want a rose tattoo as a symbol of passion, then set it on fire! This burning rose tattoo looks gorgeous with a mix of red and orange. Flames are hard to capture in a tattoo without getting cartoon-like, so pick a rose with bold outlines.
God bless America, am I right? This tattoo won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but you can’t deny that it’s a bold statement! You can use anything to create the petals of a rose tattoo, from the American flag to dollar bills to playing cards… the list continues.
Inner Hip Rose Tattoo
This handpoke one line tattoo is elegantly placed along the inner hip bone. It’s romantic, a little bit sexy, and really flows with your body. This is a great place for very small tattoos. If you want a medium-large rose tatt, consider the outer hip.
Geometric Rose Tattoo
Is it a rose? Is it a martini? Is it just a bunch of shapes? This tattoo really keeps you guessing. It’s as mysterious as the person who got the ink. There are many ways that an artist can create a rose without drawing a rose.
Watercolor Rose Tattoo
Is it on fire or is it bleeding? We aren’t quite sure, but we know that it’s beautiful and full of meaning! The way the watercolor shades blur behind the elegant black outline of a rose pop against this person’s skin. The clavicle placement is genius.
Pocket Watch and Roses
We really like this tattoo! It reminds us of Alice in Wonderland, with that pocket watch (the white rabbit) and blushing red roses (the Queen of Hearts). Whatever the meaning is behind it, the tattoo artist has done a fabulous job bringing it to life.
Can’t settle on a single color? No problem, just create a rainbow rose like this tattoo. We are really loving the way the colors start off bold and defined but are dripping like paint at the bottom of the tatt. It’s a neat style that’s very popular.
Floating Petals Rose Tattoo
The way the petals fly in a breeze is our favorite thing about this rose tattoo. It really has life and movement with every stroke of ink. The placement is on the back of one shoulder, but we think it looks divine by collarbones too.
Rose and Bird Blackwork
The little bird peeking out to say hello really makes this blackwork rose tattoo come alive. When it comes to roses, blackwork style can sometimes add an unintentional gothic edge, but the little birdie contrasts with that to add a fresher and more natural vibe.
Rose and Moon Tattoo
The rose is romantic, for sure, but so is the moon! A rose under the moon? Swoon-worthy. We like the elegance of this blackwork tattoo, but we can’t help but wonder if it would look even better in color! The shape is great for forearms.
Peach Blush Rose
This calf tattoo features a soft blush pink rose, a detailed skull and foliage detail within a diamond frame. It’s gorgeous! If you want a truly unique rose tattoo like this, talk to your tattoo artist. They usually have some great ideas of what will work.
Rose Tattoo Simple
The twisted stem of this rose is what really caught our eye! Usually, rose stalks are thorny and drawn with sharp angles, but this one really flows. You could even twist the stem of the rose around a wrist or ankle to compliment your body shape.
Rose Money Tattoo
Get rich or die trying. Preach! We really love this tattoo with the twin roses and words to live by. One rose is made from dollar bills, the other from playing cards. It’s a great idea for anyone who likes to work hard and play harder.
Red Rose Tattoo
Look how red and vibrant this red rose tattoo is! No leaves or stalks needed to complete this design. The detail on the velvety petals is incredible. If you want a tattoo like this, you’ll need to find a tattoo artist with experience in this style.
Blue Rose Tattoo
These tattoo ink colors have us swooning. Blues mixed with muted mauve, yellow and hints of pink. It’s utterly gorgeous! It’s a great example of how you can mix rose petal colors to create a range of different vibes and hidden meanings in your body art.
Rose Sleeve Tattoo
The ombre effect, with roses fading in color, looks absolutely stunning in this forearm sleeve tattoo. Roses are great for sleeves as they have a rounded shape that fills gaps perfectly. If you have a patchy sleeve or need a cover-up, roses are a good option.
Rose Traditional Tattoo
Another traditional rose tattoo here, this time with added stalk and a small rose bud. This could symbolize a parent and child, or siblings. The large rose and the small rose entwined together. It’s really beautiful and the punchy American traditional style just works so well.
Black Rose Tattoo
The fine line tattoo style with impeccable shading work makes this a true masterpiece. We love the darkness of the imagery, contrasting with the realistic/botanical style and the quite light ink work. The blade crossed behind the rose is a popular emblem for men and women.
Rose Tattoo: Quick FAQs
Should You Get a Rose Tattoo?
Yes! Rose tattoos look elegant and are a classic. A good rose tattoo will have eternal beauty and unlike some tattoos (like names) you’re less likely to want to remove it later. If you do regret your rose tattoo later, modern laser tattoo removal treatment can erase it.
What Do Rose Tattoos Mean?
Roses traditionally mean romance, love, and passion. Combining roses with other items, or changing the petal colors, can alter this meaning. Roses became meaningful tattoos when the American traditional style was created.
What is the Rose Tattoo Band?
Founded in the 1970s, the Rose Tattoo band is an Australian rock band. You don’t have to be in the band to get a rose tattoo, obviously!
Where’s the Best Placement for a Rose Tattoo?
Forearms are very popular. Any placement by the heart or hip can further symbolize love and passion, respectively.