We demonstrate here a new method to control the location of cells on surfaces in two dimensions, which can be applied to a number of biomedical applications including diagnostic tests and tissue engineered medical devices. Two-dimensional control over cell attachment is achieved by generation of a spatially controlled surface chemistry that allows control over protein adsorption, a process which mediates cell attachment. Here, we describe the deposition of thin allylamine plasma polymer coatings on silicon wafer and perfluorinated poly(ethylene-co-propylene) substrates, followed by grafting of a protein resistant layer of poly(ethylene oxide). Spatially controlled patterning of the surface chemistry was achieved in a fast, one-step procedure by nanometer thickness controlled laser ablation using a 248 nm excimer laser. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy were used to confirm the production of surface chemistry patterns with a resolution of approximately 1 µm, which is significantly below the dimensions of a single mammalian cell. Subsequent adsorption of the extracellular matrix proteins collagen I and fibronectin followed by cell culture experiments using bovine corneal epithelial cells confirmed that cell attachment is controlled by the surface chemistry pattern. The method is an effective tool for use in a number of in vitro and in vivo applications.