Tissue engineering offers considerable promise in the repair or replacement of diseased and/or damaged tissues. The cellular component of this regenerative approach will play a key role in bringing these tissue engineered constructs from the laboratory bench to the clinical bedside. However, the ideal source of cells still remains unclear and may differ depending upon the application. Current research for many applications is focused on the use of adult stem cells. The properties of adult stem cells that make them well-suited for regenerative medicine are (1) ease of harvest for autologous transplantation, (2) high proliferation rates for ex vivo expansion and (3) multilineage differentiation capacity. This review will highlight the use of adipose tissue as a reservoir of adult stem cells and draw conclusions based upon comparisons with bone marrow stromal cells.