Metal–organic frameworks are promising materials for manifold applications. This Minireview highlights approaches for the fine-tuning of specific sorption properties (e.g. capacity, selectivity, and breathing behavior) of this interesting class of materials. Central aspects covered are the control over the crystal morphology, the targeted tuning of sorption properties by judicious choice of metal centers and linkers, and the preparation of host–guest systems. We want to introduce the reader to these topics on the basis of the manipulation of a handful of outstanding prototypical metal–organic frameworks.