Microbial cells (bacteria, fungi, and algae) and viruses are important part of life; which besides their harmful effects, perform several useful functions owing to their unique cell surface properties. The unique structures present on their surfaces serve as barriers between the cell and its environment and bestow them with unique functional properties. The current review describes strategies to decorate microbial cells by using different materials. It details various strategies such as layer by layer (LbL) decoration, mineralization, encapsulation, and genetic engineering among others to modify the surfaces of different microbial cells for potential applications such as environmental biotechnology, toxicology, medical microbiology, and nano-biotechnology, etc. Besides, it discusses the effects of various materials on cell viability, physiology, and functionality used for surface engineering. This review provides fundamentals to the novice readers and insights to the seasoned researchers to pave way for their future research in the area.