Treatment and management of kidney disease currently presents an enormous global burden, and the application of nanotechnology principles to renal disease therapy, although still at an early stage, has profound transformative potential. The increasing translation of nanomedicines to the clinic, alongside research efforts in tissue regeneration and organ-on-a-chip investigations, are likely to provide novel solutions to treat kidney diseases. Our understanding of renal anatomy and of how the biological and physico-chemical properties of nanomedicines (the combination of a nanocarrier and a drug) influence their interactions with renal tissues has improved dramatically. Tailoring of nanomedicines in terms of kidney retention and binding to key membranes and cell populations associated with renal diseases is now possible and greatly enhances their localization, tolerability, and efficacy. This Review outlines nanomedicine characteristics central to improved targeting of renal cells and highlights the prospects, challenges, and opportunities of nanotechnology-mediated therapies for renal diseases.