High performance functional coatings, based on hybrid organic/inorganic materials, are being developed to combine the polymer flexibility and ease of processing with the mechanical properties and versatility of inorganic materials. By incorporating silica nanoparticles (SiNPs) in the polymeric matrices, it is possible to obtain hybrid polymer films with increased tensile strength and impact resistance, without decreasing the flexural properties of the polymer matrix. The SiNPs can further be used as carriers to impart other functionalities (optical, etc.
) to the hybrid films. By using polymer-coated SiNPs, it is possible to reduce particle aggregation in the films and, thus, achieve more homogeneous distributions of the inorganic components and, therefore, better properties. On the other hand, by coating polymer particles with silica, one can create hierarchically structured materials, for example to obtain superhydrophobic coatings. In this review, we will cover the latest developments in films prepared from hybrid polymer/silica functional systems.