The interactions between nanosized particles and living systems are commonly mediated by what adsorbs to the nanoparticle in the biological environment, its biomolecular corona, rather than the pristine surface. Here, we characterize the adhesion toward the cell membrane of nanoparticles of different material and size and study how this is modulated by the presence or absence of a corona on the nanoparticle surface. The results are corroborated with adsorption to simple model supported lipid bilayers using a quartz crystal microbalance. We conclude that the adsorption of proteins on the nanoparticle surface strongly reduces nanoparticle adhesion in comparison to what is observed for the bare material. Nanoparticle uptake is described as a two-step process, where the nanoparticles initially adhere to the cell membrane and subsequently are internalized by the cells via energy-dependent pathways. The lowered adhesion in the presence of proteins thereby causes a concomitant decrease in nanoparticle uptake efficiency. The presence of a biomolecular corona may confer specific interactions between the nanoparticle-corona complex and the cell surface including triggering of regulated cell uptake. An important effect of the corona is, however, a reduction in the purely unspecific interactions between the bare material and the cell membrane, which in itself disregarding specific interactions, causes a decrease in cellular uptake. We suggest that future nanoparticle-cell studies include, together with characterization of size, charge, and dispersion stability, an evaluation of the adhesion properties of the material to relevant membranes.