Published on June 22nd, 2011 | by Jules Yap


Expedit Lekman Hamster House

Materials: Expedit shelving unit. Traby glass door. Lekman insert box. Rotera lantern. Rationell variera shelf insert. Duktig mini coffee set.

Description: This is a home for my new pair of dwarf hamsters made from an Expedit shelving unit.

I used a Lekman insert box without attaching the front panel so that it is open. This protects the cupboard from hamster damage, is easier to clean and has handy air holes at the back.

Attach a Traby glass door to keep your creatures in.

I used a Rationell Variera shelf insert to create a second level and a Rotera lantern as a little stylish bedroom. I am using the Duktig children’s mini coffee set to hold the hamster food and the rest of the space is filled with hamster related items.

~ Jennifer Hollands, Ashbourne, UK

CAUTION!!! This Expedit cage may be TOO SMALL for a hamster to live comfortably. The Humane Society of the USA recommends minimum size of 24 inches long and 12 inches wide for an “aquarium” type of housing. Please read more info here on humane hamster housing.

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

31 Responses to Expedit Lekman Hamster House

  1. Anonymous says:

    That box space is way too small for one let alone 2 hamsters ! For their sake,at least try and get better living space for them , as the box is tiny.maybe add a wheel for the too . :)

  2. J says:

    This really is way too small!

    Here you can see how an Expedit could be used in a hamster friendly way:


    A huge difference isn’t it?

  3. LARI says:

    This cube is FAR TOO SMALL!!! This is animal cruelty! And dwarf hamsters should be kept alone because it’s possible that they fight till death! You should be locked in a box which has same proportions for you like it hs for them!
    CHECK THIS GREAT BLOG IN ENGLISH FOR GOOD HAMSTER HOMES: http://hamstergehege.blogspot.com/

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s not too small for a hamster. It’s fine. An admirable effort! I shall build an Expedit shelf and fill every cubicle with hamsters, following your excellent specification! It will be a wonderful talking point and will brighten up my parties. Thankyou for posting such joy.

  5. Sofia says:

    Waaaaay too small!!!! Poor hamsters!

  6. Anonymous says:

    You can make a very nice habitat for hamsters from an Expedit shelf, one or two of them have already been featured on this blog (use the blog search). But they always used at least five cubes as ground space and one or two cubes as burrow boxes. As for pee sinking in, if you use aquarium silicon to seal off the edges, it’s totally fine, this shelf can be a good material for a hamster home.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dwarf Hamsters are solitary, and some day these to WILL fight to the death. Poor little creatures that has to live in that sad excuse for a cage… some people should not have pets.

  8. Anonymous says:

    In my country, we eat hamsters.

  9. Anonymous says:

    this really freaks me out!

  10. Anonymous says:

    that is disgusting. i don’t know about the size, paint and all that, but i do know that their pee and poo will be permantly embedded into your shelf and those shavings are already falling out (probably along with poo and pee on them) onto the floor! sick, stinky and weird!

  11. m0m0nga says:

    I read the tags under this post: “Expedit”, “Lekman”, “pet furniture”…

    … and I thought, yes, that’s absolutely right: Someone mistook living creatures for furniture.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I know everybody’s already said it but I agree its waaaay too small for two hamsters. Consider using 3 of those cubbies with the one in the middle being a ‘play area’.

    They will be much happier :)

  13. Moontree says:

    Like most of these ikea hacks for small animal housing, it seems like the design is oriented to human aesthetics rather than that of the animals in question. I’m sure Jennifer means well, but it’s not good for her hammies. Whether it’s cute or they seem “pampered’ is irrelevant, those are human quantifiers and not in the best interest of the hamsters.

  14. evst3r says:

    I think this is not a hack, this is simply an inappropriate way of housing animals.

    @Anonymous: If you think a wheel can fix this then you’re wrong. This space is too small, simply, especially for dwarf hamsters, and especially for two of them.

    This is the saddest entry on Ikeahackers I have ever seen.

  15. Anonymous says:

    @tina_6500 / TheFeldhamster

    Lol, you might want to read the studies you posted on your blog. The one study on cage size in particular states,

    “hamsters showed stereotypic wire gnawing in cage sizes from 1,800 cm2 … the welfare of pet golden hamsters MIGHT be improved by providing enriched cages of at least 10,000 cm.(p30)”

    Yet earlier in the document there’s a statement that says, “there was no significant effect of cage size on the number of wire gnawing hamsters. (p17)”

    The only conclusions I got from that study was that there were no complete conclusions.

    Just get your guys a wheel and they should be fine :)

  16. Anonymous says:

    too small…not good enough airflow….kinda scary….

  17. nycitysky says:

    Wow. Wacky hamster freak out. It looks to me like the hamsters are totally pampered. I’d like to move in! Maybe its a temporary studio until they save enough up for a house?

  18. Anonymous says:

    I feel bad for those hamsters.

  19. Marie says:

    Please don’t leave the two little furballs in there – it is way, way, way too small!

    It looks as if it’s made with a lot of love, so I’m sure you can extend that love and give your hamsters room to live, and to breathe.


  20. Anonymous says:

    Do you have a easy access trap door of some sort in case los gatos get hungry?

  21. Um, I know that space recommendations differ a lot from country to country but this is too small even by the standards on UK hamster forums – they usually recommend a minimum floor size of 360 square inches or a 20gal long tank. 10gal is considered too small. I am sure you meant well, but please consider that the space in one cube of an Expedit is smaller than a typical lab cage.

    Not to mention ventilation. I’m not saying that you can only keep hamsters in wire cages but with only those 4 holes of the lekman that really is too little. You can’t fix it with a fan either because hamsters should not be exposed to draughty air. Cleaning the bedding very frequently is also not a good option because it is stressful for the hamsters and might lead to breakup of the group as hamsters are very smell-oriented.

    Also, if you group house dwarf hamsters it’s recommended that you offer at least 2 hideouts and 2 wheels so they don’t have any reason to squabble over resources.

    As for the hack itself – it’s good-looking but you really want to reconsider what animal to house there. Eg. it could make a nice home for a tarantula if you fix some fine wire mesh over the ventilation holes in the back and attach some sort of lock to the door.

    If you need any advice on housing your hamsters please feel free to contact me via my blog. You really might want to check out this article that summarizes several scientific studies about adequate hamster housing: http://hamstergehege.blogspot.com/2010/03/wissenschaftliche-fakten-wie-ein.html#english

  22. Concerned hamster owner says:

    These custom hamster habitats infuriate me. Always full of pointless arbitrary trinkets that serve a purpose purely for the human owner and are of no practical use for a hamster.

    Why on earth is there a tealight lamp in there!?

    Not to mention the fact that hamsters are burrowing animals and as such require A LOT MORE sawdust/bedding in their hutch.


  23. Anonymous says:

    The expedit shelf has about the same surface area of a 10 gallon tank ( a little bit larger, actually). The only difference is that the aquarium is more rectangular and taller. The size should be fine.

    The amount of ammonia given off should not effect the hamster’s well being that much as long as the enclosure is not entirely enclosed. A small fan pointing at the wall behind it would alleviate the situation if you’re concerned.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Aquariums and plastic containers build up ammonia from the animals’ urine. That is the odour you detect. It is not just a harmless smell. It damages small animals’ delicate resipiratory systems. Over time it will make them sickly and eventually shorten their lives. An enclosure that is both too small and has poor ventilation is a very poor choice of housing. Both combined will exacerbate the problem.

    Maybe the original poster changes the bedding frequently enough that it is not an issue for her, but many less attentive people will copy something like this and their pets will suffer for it.

    A much healthier solution would have been to build a custom-sized cube cage using hardware cloth and a drop-in plastic pan. It could still be kept on the Expedit shelf if space is an issue.

  25. Anonymous says:

    That thing looks good but is to small! You can google a little bit about hamsters needs…

  26. hamsters live solitary – that thing is WAY to small for two of them.
    Ventilation is not so much abot smell but about Oxigen for the animals.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Any sources on the information you guys posted or are you just spouting arbitrary complaints?

    Only issue I would imagine with the ventilation is the smell but most hamsters always have an odor. Other than that, you might wanna through in a wheel.

    Great job though!

  28. Ana O' says:

    Brilliant in terms of aesthetics, much better than what you see in petshops!! I especially like that you used the lantern end the kids’ stuff… But, yeah, hope you have check the toxicity issue! I never had any hamster, so i don’t know about the rest either…

  29. Anonymous says:

    This is too small to be permanent housing.

    There is also not enough ventilation.

    Are the paints on the IKEA items confirmed non-toxic?

    Hamsters chew and may consume the paint.

  30. Anonymous says:

    It’s too small for two hamsters!! they must can run around.

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