A review is given on the concept, domain, characteristic, and current status of smart coatings. It has been pointed out the smart coatings as a kind of artificial coating systems are capable of optimally responding to external stimulation such as change of temperature, stress, strain, environment, etc. The principles, characteristics, and applications of several types of artificial biologic and bioactive coatings including self-cleaning coating, drag-reduction coating, and antibacterial coating are introduced as well. Some important progresses in the research and application of self-cleaning coatings including artificial lotus surface, drag-reduction coating, artificial sharkskin surface, and antibacterial coatings are summarized. Moreover, the factors affecting the hydrophobicity of artificial bioactive coatings are discussed. It was supposed that the hydrophobicity of the artificial bioactive coatings is significantly dependent on the surface energy and surface roughness, and it could be feasible to realize drag-reduction, simulation, and antibacterial functions of the biologic skins by properly manipulating the hydrophobicity and texture.