The rise of bacterial resistance to current antibiotics poses a threat to humanity and reinforces the need for new-generation nanomaterials with antibacterial properties and biosafety. Several types of nanomaterials have been shown to hold great potential to combat pathogenic microorganisms. Self-assembly of peptides and proteins, a spontaneous and tunable process, provides a wide range of new routes to construct functional biological nanomaterials with antibacterial properties. In particular, short-peptide based supramolecular nanomaterials have attained substantial recognition due to their ease of fabrication, favorable physicochemical properties, and structurally diverse functionalities. Here, we present an overview of the recent progress on the design of short peptides, including linear peptides, amphiphilic peptides, and cyclic peptides, for the formation of supramolecular nanostructures as antibacterial agents and their respective therapeutic modes of action. Moreover, supramolecular short peptide composites and biomineralized nanomaterials are discussed, along with their biosafety and antibacterial mechanisms. These nanomaterials hold great promise as antibiotics of the near future due to their biocompatible, biodegradable, and environmentally friendly nature. (c) 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.