An emerging approach to improve the physicobiochemical properties and the multifunctionality of biomaterials is to incorporate functional nanomaterials (NMs) onto 2D surfaces and into 3D hydrogel networks. This approach is starting to generate promising advanced functional materials such as self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) and nanocomposite (NC) hydrogels of NMs with remarkable properties and tailored functionalities that are beneficial for a variety of biomedical applications, including tissue engineering, drug delivery, and developing biosensors. A wide range of NMs, such as carbon-, metal-, and silica-based NMs, can be integrated into 2D and 3D biomaterial formulations due to their unique characteristics, such as magnetic properties, electrical properties, stimuli responsiveness, hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity, and chemical composition. The highly ordered nano- or microscale assemblies of NMs on surfaces alter the original properties of the NMs and add enhanced and/or synergetic and novel features to the final SAMs of the NM constructs. Furthermore, the incorporation of NMs into polymeric hydrogel networks reinforces the (soft) polymer matrix such that the formed NC hydrogels show extraordinary mechanical properties with superior biological properties.