Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) of various shapes (including spheres, stars and flowers), with similar dimensions, were synthesized and evaluated for their antibacterial effects toward Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium responsible for numerous life-threatening infections worldwide. Optical growth curve measurements and Gompertz modeling showed significant AuNP shape- and concentration-dependent decreases in bacterial growth with increases in bacterial growth lag time. To evaluate prospective use in in vivo systems, the cytotoxicity of the same AuNPs was evaluated toward human dermal fibroblasts in vitro by 3-(4,5 dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium (MTS) viability assays and confocal microscopy. No indication of any mammalian cell toxicity or morphological effects was found. Additionally, it was observed that the AuNPs were readily internalized in fibroblasts after 4 days of incubation. Most importantly, the results of the present study showed that gold nanoflowers in particular possessed the most promising non-cytotoxic mammalian cell behavior with the greatest shape-dependent antibacterial activity-promising properties for their future investigation in a wide range of anti-infection applications.