There are some designs which are commonly seen, like hearts with a cupid, lovebirds or romantic flowers. If the person has a sense of humor, he or she can select a dancing heart or comical heart cartoon. However, if the person is whimsical, he or she may opt for heart-shaped lady bugs.
... with Ribbons
A small heart tattoo which features winding ribbons that grace the name of a loved or lost one is staple. Ribbons with 'Mom' written on them along with a heart was a popular design with sailors, and is also a classical design. These days, the word 'Mom' is replaced with the name of a loved one, with childrens' names, or also names of pets. There are numerous variations of hearts, like hearts with multiple ribbons, which depict both the parents, multiple children, etc. It can also combined with flowers or birds, especially lovebirds, butterflies, which symbolize free spirits as well as water, to depict purity and serenity. Such tattoos can be on the chest or also on the shoulders.
Sacred heart tattoos symbolize religious beliefs. These designs have a heart surrounded by thorns, blood, and fire. They have come to depict Jesus Christ's sacrifice and his burning love for all mankind. Sacred heart tattoos can also be combined with crosses, angel wings, halos, or they can be wrapped with rosary beads. These tattoos made on the wrist can have a heart wrapped with rosary beads to make a bracelet.
... with Daggers
If a person wants to show pain, hurt, or betrayal inflicted by a loved one, or the pain associated with losing someone close, he can opt for a heart with daggers. Daggered heart tattoos can also be associated with sacrifice. This is more so when either the dagger or the heart depicts military features. A daggered small heart tattoo can also be surrounded by thorns, which represents the thorned crown, associated with Jesus Christ. They can either be made on the foot or on the hip.
Winged and Flying Tattoos
Usually, small hearts with wings are chosen as the first tattoo. However, it can also be chosen to indicate free souls. Winged tattoos with small hearts are very popular, due to the same reason among girls. It is also said to be a symbol of the Sufi Movement, which is a branch of Islam, that focuses on spreading love, unity, and harmony. This can also be combined with the crescent moon, which stands for the heart's responsiveness, or also with a five-pointed star, which represents divine light.
Locked Heart Tattoos
This is a tattoo which is often chosen by couples who hope to share a permanent symbol of their relationship. Normally, such couples go in for a complementary locked heart on one person and a key on the other.
... with Names
This is one of the most commonly used symbols among family members and loved ones. The name or the initials of the loved one is inscribed on the heart, as an everlasting tribute to the special people in the person's life.
There are other designs which you can combine with small heart tattoos, like butterfly tattoos, Celtic tattoos in a heart shape with intricate knot work, and bands which loop around the image.