Silica aerogels are unique lightweight, nanostructured materials with extremely high porosity (usually above 90%), making them particularly attractive for thermal insulation, although their mechanical fragility still requires strategies of reinforcement that may compromise some of their most appealing properties. The use of silica aerogels still needs to be matured for a broad range of other high-performance applications, and even improved for insulation application. This can be achieved by intensely exploring their surface chemistry versatility, by relying on the enormous variety of silane precursors and chemical routes that can be used. In this work, we present two examples of using reactive moieties in the silane precursors for the preparation of silica aerogels for multipurpose application. In the first case, an acrylate containing silane (3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl methacrylate) is used along with tetramethyl orthosilicate to produce an organically-modified silica network, which could be reinforced by adding 1,6-bis(trimethoxysilyl)hexane or 1,4-bis(triethoxysilyl)-benzene as spacers and tris[2-(acryloyloxy)ethyl] isocyanurate as cross-linker. These hybrid aerogels have shown an interesting combination of thermal insulation and mechanical properties. Moreover, they could be chemically doped with silica-functionalized magnetite nanoparticles imparting magnetic behaviour to the aerogels but also improving their thermal insulation performance and mechanical strength. Their magnetic feature can be useful for several applications including magnetic separation and drug delivery. As a second example, amine and thiol-functionalized aerogels were used as adsorbents to capture heavy metals from wastewater by complexation, and the preparation of these materials could be accomplished using a combination of silanes, including hydrophobic moieties for a compromise to ensure material stability and good adsorption capacities. Removal percentages of heavy metals reaching 90% were found for metal concentrations of environmental relevance. The amine functionality in aerogels is also useful for other purposes, for example to improve the rate capability of silica aerogels to remove carbon dioxide from gaseous streams or environments.