The formation of hierarchical structures consisting of microstripe barriers decorated with nanorough ablated materials prepared by direct laser writing is described. Linear features of circa 25 μm width and 12 μm height are achieved on amorphous and crystalline titania and graphitic carbon films deposited on silicon. Ablated protrusions build up barriers decorated by nanoscale Si-film reconstructions, as indicated by EDX maps and micro-Raman spectroscopy. Wettability tests show a dramatic change in water contact angle, which leads to almost full wetting after irradiation, irrespective of the original film composition. Fluorescence microscopy images of human mesenchymal stem cells cultured on 1D and 2D structures demonstrate the short term biocompatibility of the ablated surfaces. It is shown that cells adhere, extend and polarize on feature edges, independently of the type of surface, thus suggesting that the created nanoroughness is at the origin of the antifouling behavior. In particular, irradiated anatase and graphite surfaces demonstrate an increased performance of crystalline films for the creation of cell guiding and trapping devices. The results suggest that such laser processing of films may serve as a time-and-cost-efficient method for the design of few-cells analytical surfaces.