Also known as rib tattoos, side tattoos never go out of style. This timeless piece of ink is ideal for artistic and sensitive women who aren’t afraid to be open and honest about their emotions. Confident women also go for side tattoos and love to show them off.
Considered both sexy and powerful, side tattoos ooze elegance but also give you a dose of edginess. In other words, these tattoos combine different vibes thus showing why people with different likes, preferences, and styles rock beautiful designs on this specific part of the body.
Your sides are a relatively larger area that allows for small, moderate, and big tattoos. Options are truly endless in terms of designs you can rock. Scroll down to see some of the best women’s side tattoo designs and the symbolism behind them.
65 Side (Rib) Tattoo Designs For Women
Your side tattoo can be anything you want; something romantic, bold, cute, feminine, or minimalistic. As always when it comes to tattoos, you should opt for something that represents you, your personality and values, or holds special meaning in your life. Below, you can see some useful suggestions and learn more about their meanings. Check them out.
1. Rose Side Tattoo
Rose is a beautiful flower and a popular tattoo choice. Probably the most obvious meaning of a rose tattoo is love or beauty. But, like other floral tattoos, a rose can have different symbolism. Two people can rock a rose tattoo for entirely different reasons.
Besides love, a rose tattoo signifies concepts like new beginnings, promises, and hopes. More detailed symbolism depends on the color of a rose tattoo. For example:
- Red rose – symbolizes love, passion, sacrifice, or memorial
- Pink rose – represents gratitude, grace, innocence, and affection
- Purple rose – stands for enchantment and royalty
- Blue rose – depicts the unattainable or impossible
- Yellow rose – means joy, friendship, luck, and protection from envious lovers
- Black rose – refers to death, mourning, and grief
Rose tattoo is an excellent choice to pay tribute to someone you’ve lost but also to express your love for something. As a side tattoo, a rose is usually done in fine line and black or grey, but multicolor realistic tattoos are also a good option.
Some women opt for rose alone, while others add other images such as a snake. A combination of rose and snake is the ultimate symbol of temptation or blinding passion.
2. Heart side tattoo
Here’s yet another popular tattoo design that never goes out of style. The heart is a timeless piece of body ink that represents expressing love or desire. Friendship and passion are also common meanings of a heart tattoo. Just like with a rose, the heart can also pay a tribute to someone you love.
Besides standard heart shape, you can explore other options. For instance, an anatomically correct shape of a heart gives you a great foundation to rock something unusual. You can add flowers to the mix and make it look like they’re growing out of the heart.
Heart-shaped images such as a dream-catcher also prove to be a wonderful option. In other words, hearts are versatile and look great on the ribs. Just follow your creativity and see where it will take you.
3. Full Side Tattoo
Full side tattoos usually follow your sides from the rib area all the way down the thigh. Some full-side tattoos expand from rib to hip areas. These tattoos are ideal for adventurous and edgy women who are all about having fun and trying out new things.
What makes full-side tattoos so amazing is that they allow you to explore your creativity. Instead of focusing on a specific image or design, you can work with a talented tattoo artist to create an elaborate piece of body art that is going to be unique to you and your personality.
Multicolor and black or grey designs are equally effective in full-side tattoos. Floral designs in combination with bright colors and large size make your side tattoo bold, yet feminine.
4. Butterfly Side Tattoo
Butterflies are among the most feminine tattoo designs you can choose. These tattoos depict femininity, but may also represent a loved one who passed away.
Since butterflies go through metamorphosis, your tattoo can also symbolize a new beginning. So if you’re starting a new chapter in your life and looking for a chic way to show it, a butterfly tattoo is an excellent choice.
A butterfly tattoo can also mean freedom and beauty. Some women go for a butterfly tattoo for its deeper meaning whereas others simply love the aesthetic. Regardless of the motivation in your case, you can never go wrong with a butterfly. Black and grey or multicolor tattoo, the choice is yours. Butterflies look equally delicate and mesmerizing either way.
You can go one step further and include other imagery into your tattoo. Flowers and butterflies look perfect together.
5. Small Side Tattoo
Small tattoos are trending, particularly for women. Tiny and delicate designs ooze elegance and femininity. These tattoos are particularly beneficial for women who want to get inked, but keep it simple and minimalistic.
While usually black, small tattoos can be multicolor too. They are characterized by fine lines and a seemingly delicate look. Options for small tattoos are endless. You can opt for a heart, flower, an abstract design, moon, you name it.
Tiny tattoos are also more affordable. That means if you’re on a tight budget and still want to rock a hot piece of the side tattoo, smaller designs are ideal. Plus, it’s easier to cover them up when necessary even on hot summer days.
Find a talented tattoo artist who will give you a clear, simple, and breathtaking small tattoo. Their small size often makes them look easy to do. Not true! They still require expertise that only a reliable and experienced tattoo artist offers.
6. Abstract Side Tattoo
The abstract tattoo can represent an animal, physical item, person, place, or random lines and shapes that depict your emotions. Although these tattoos may seem confusing to some, they hold special meaning to the wearer. Abstract tattoo, like an abstract painting, is the best representation of your feelings and perspective of life.
For some people, an abstract tattoo features a design of different black or multicolor lines and circles. For others, an abstract ink is an image where two seemingly opposite objects are blended into one e.g. moon and snake.
When it comes to these tattoos there are no rules. You can choose anything you want if you believe it perfectly represents your emotional and spiritual sides. Explore your creativity and create an abstract tattoo that nobody else has. If you’re looking for unique side tattoos, then abstract is the real deal.
7. Inspirational or Quote Side Tattoo
Words of wisdom are always a popular tattoo choice. Actual quotes, expressions, and the words to live by, show you have the power to create your own story. These words and phrases keep you inspired and motivate you to work hard and achieve the success you deserve. Or they keep you humble, grounded, and kind.
The beauty of quote tattoos is that everyone has the opportunity to choose something they find meaningful. For some people a single word can do the trick, others need more. It all comes down to you and your goals.
Beautifully executed quotes or inspirational tattoos are romantic, elegant, and sensual at the same time. The side of the body offers plenty of room for any text you like.
8. Romantic Side Tattoo
Are you a hopeless romantic? You can show off your romantic side with a suitable tattoo. For instance, you can opt for lovers sharing a kiss to other images such as hearts, and lips. Symbols that connect you and your significant other are also a great option, especially if you get matching tattoos.
Hopeless romantics are sentimental, idealists, daydreams, and persons who see beauty in everything. You’re someone who chooses to believe in positive outcomes, regardless of how challenging a situation gets. Romantic tattoos prove to be an excellent choice as they show you’re not afraid of showing your emotions in a world where people refuse to show theirs.
Romantic tattoos can be multicolor or black, fine line or bold, anything you want.
9. Snake Side Tattoo
Snakes have gotten a bad rep because people are generally scared of them. Fear of snakes often instills the belief snakes represent everything negative and evil. The reality is different. A snake tattoo can represent a lot of things.
Just like with other animal tattoos, a snake tattoo can represent all the attributes of the actual animal. Snakes can be sleek, secretive, seductive, and sneaky. Both positive and negative meanings are behind a snake tattoo.
For example, your snake tattoo can symbolize evil, devil, hell, medicine, protection, knowledge, change, and the cycle of life. Additionally, snakes stand for wisdom, darkness, intelligence, power, temptation, and death even.
Many people go for a snake tattoo primarily because they want to depict a new beginning in their life, a new chapter, or a change they’ve gone through.
Snakes change their skin which marks a metaphorical new beginning in their lives. If you’ve embarked on a new journey in your life, a snake tattoo can represent it.
Their slick and thin appearance allows for a wide range of styles and designs, especially on the side of your body. Snakes are often portrayed as if they’re about to attack their victim but can be “peaceful” and wrapped around a different object.
10. Japanese Side Tattoo
Japanese side tattoo is a wonderful choice for edgy women who love to stand out. This is not the kind of tattoo you want to cover up and hide. You do a Japanese tattoo because you want to show it off. And why wouldn’t you? Also known as irezumi, Japanese tattoos are works of art.
In a nutshell, Japanese tattoo features an elaborate design and bold use of different colors. Motifs range from flowers such as peonies to snakes, tigers, dragons, devils, and other images.
While they’re beautiful to look at, Japanese tattoos are more than a pretty image. They hold deeper significance. Let’s take peonies as an example. They represent richness, love, luck, honor, and glory. Tigers symbolize power and strength.
The most crucial thing about Japanese tattoos is the attention to detail and the maximum use of the room on your skin. Your skin is like a canvas on which a tattoo artist creates a masterpiece. To get everything Japanese tattoos provide, you need to choose a tattoo artist wisely. Always go for the person who’s got extensive experience in irezumi.
Japanese tattoos can stick to the rib area, or you can go big and get a tattoo that extends from ribs to your thighs.
11. Dragon Side Tattoo
Dragons are mythical creatures known for their power and resilience. Also a popular tattoo choice, dragons can make you instantly look edgy, adventurous, and strong. While most people, men and women alike, decide to get large tattoos of a dragon, it’s also possible to get delicate, tiny ink. And it still looks awesome!
What do dragons represent? A lot of things, actually! The meaning of a dragon tattoo varies from one place to another. For example, in Eastern cultures, dragons represent wisdom, strength, and hidden knowledge. That said, in Western culture dragons depict destruction and chaos.
Not everyone chooses a dragon tattoo for its symbolism. Some women may get dragon inked on their bodies because these creatures look cool. And they do!
When it comes to the dragon itself, you can opt for a flying beast or a sea serpent-style. Both options look great on the ribs area because a tattoo artist can adapt a dragon image to follow your silhouette.
12. Fine Line Side Tattoo
Fine line tattoo involves the use of straight or curved lines. In these tattoos, lines are thin and have no gradations in color or shade. Simple and minimalistic, fine line tattoos appeal the most to gentle persons who appreciate the minimalistic approach to life.
The main emphasis of a fine line tattoo is on the form, not shading, texture, or color. Even though fine line tattoos are usually black, you can also opt for a multicolor design.
Most tattoos of this kind are very simple, but it’s also possible to get a more detailed image. As long as it’s not overcharged or “heavy” in details, it’s okay.
Your ribs and sides of the body are a great fine line tattoo spot. Here, these tattoos look gentle and elegant. They add a feminine vibe to the whole look.
Options for fine line tattoos are numerous and wave image is one of them. Wave tattoo symbolizes love for the ocean but also stands for the constant motion of life.
Hand holding a flower is also a great feminine choice of a side tattoo. Anything you want, or find meaningful, can be represented in a fine line form.
13. Bird Side Tattoo
Humans are drawn to birds as we admire their freedom and ability to fly from one place to another. Indeed, birds generally represent our tendency and strong desire to live a life that is happy and spiritually free. We want to embody the kind of freedom that only birds have.
In some cultures, birds are a representation of an eternal life i.e. the connection between earth and heaven. Your bird tattoo can be tiny, moderate, or large in size. In the same way, it can be black and grey or multicolor.
The more specific meaning of a bird tattoo depends on the specific bird you choose. Common examples are hummingbird, swallow, doves, and parrots even.
The hummingbird tattoo represents overcoming difficult and challenging times. Other meanings of hummingbird tattoos include hope, joy, charm, life, and peace.
Swallow tattoos are tied to nautical themes and a widely present in American traditional tattoos as well as other styles. This bird symbolizes freedom and returning home. Sailors rocked swallow tattoos to show off their sailing prowess. Your swallow tattoo can also represent a positive change in your life.
The best thing about bird tattoos is that you can get them in any style you want. Birds can also come in combination with other imagery ranging from flowers to more unusual objects such as hearts.
If you’re a fearless woman who loves her freedom and independence, a bird tattoo could be your perfect match. There are tons of birds you can tattoo on your body and a tattoo artist can help you make the final choice.