In the last few years the research activity in multifunctional composite materials and structures (MFCMS) is remarkably increased. This paper is a review of journal publications that are related to multifunctional composite materials and structures. MFCMS are meant for performing a variety of functions apart from the primary structural function which provides structural functions such as strength, stiffness, stability while non-structural functions provides energy harvesting, self-healing capability, sensing and actuation and sometimes acts as a protective layer etc. Many of the recent developments focused on the applications of MFCMS such as High Altitude Airship (HAA), morphing aircraft wings, energy harvesting, nanomaterials & nanostructures, smart structures, coupled field analysis, biomechanical etc. This paper also focused on the nonlinear mechanics of MFCMS because High Altitude Airship type of problems comes under geometrically and materially nonlinear case, so to analyse this type of problems one of the effective method called Variational Asymptotic Method is used. This method solves the problem by splitting the 3-D nonlinear problem into 1-D analysis through the thickness and 2-D nonlinear shell analysis. This paper concludes with a discussion of future scope and difficulties in design and analysis of multifunctional composite structures. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.