The development of in vitro cell models that mimic cell behavior in organs and tissues is an approach that may have remarkable impact on drug testing and tissue engineering applications in the future. Plant-based, chemically unmodified cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) hydrogel is a natural, abundant, and biocompatible material that has attracted great attention for biomedical applications, in particular for three-dimensional cell cultures. However, the mechanisms of cell-CNF interactions and factors that affect these interactions are not yet fully understood. In this work, multi-parametric surface plasmon resonance (SPR) was used to study how the adsorption of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2) cells on CNF films is affected by the different proteins and components of the cell medium. Both human recombinant laminin-521 (LN-521, a natural protein of the extracellular matrix) and poly-L-lysine (PLL) adsorbed on CNF films and enhanced the attachment of HepG2 cells. Cell medium components (glucose and amino acids) and serum proteins (fetal bovine serum, FBS) also adsorbed on both bare CNF and on protein-coated CNF substrates. However, the adsorption of FBS hindered the attachment of HepG2 cells to LN-521- and PLL-coated CNF substrates, suggesting that serum proteins blocked the formation of laminin-integrin bonds and decreased favorable PLL-cell electrostatic interactions. This work sheds light on the effect of different factors on cell attachment to CNF, paving the way for the utilization and optimization of CNF-based materials for different tissue engineering applications.