Our group is fundamentally interested in the design of a series of novel multi-functional nanoscale systems, using diverse chemical strategies. Such a multi-functional material often possesses unique catalytic and optoelectronic properties that are distinctive from and at times, superior to those of its individual constituent components. In essence, our hope and expectation is that chemical synthesis can be used to tune and tailor structure – property correlations. In this presentation, we focus on the applications of fundamental chemical principles with respect to the synthesis of metal-containing and metal-oxide-containing nanostructures. In particular, we describe advances in the use of complementary, sustainable, and cost-effective solution-based methodologies that allow us to generate functional nanomaterials with high quality, purity, and crystallinity, in addition to control over size and shape. We have subsequently created a number of different architectures for gaining valuable insights into solar and fuel cell applications.