black and white guinea pig looking out the door of it's cage with a bed of timothy hay beside it

Guinea Pig Cage Ideas for Small Spaces

If you’re looking to add guinea pigs to your family but you’re a little limited on available space, this post is for you! Today, we’re going to discuss guinea pig cage ideas for small spaces. More specifically, we are going to talk about making the most of the space that you have available. Let’s get started!

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One of the most common questions that I am asked since starting Shed Happens is ‘Which pet is the best choice for a child?

While there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question, guinea pigs are often at the top of my list. Why?

Guinea pigs are incredibly gentle and patient pets that don’t mind being handled by your child (with proper supervision, of course).

They are also social and talkative, allowing your child to connect with their pet and create a real bond.

As for the responsibility and work involved, guinea pigs are relatively easy to care for.

Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t hands-off. However, their daily care is fairly simple and straightforward for newer pet owners or those who are interested in getting their children involved.

Related: ‘What Is the Best Pet for Apartment Living?

There is one need that is often overlooked when bringing a guinea pig into the home, and that is the amount of space that a guinea pig needs to be happy in its habitat.

Unlike other small animals, guinea pigs cannot safely use an exercise wheel.

The shape and stature of their bodies are not compatible with the way the exercise wheels operate, often leading to back and leg injuries.

Instead, a guinea pig needs a habit that offers enough floor space to move around freely.

The Humane Society of the United States recommends a bare minimum of 7.5 square feet for a single guinea pig, with the space needed increasing for additional pets (obviously).

It’s also important to note that this is the floor space requirement.

These needs cannot be met by adding additional floors to take advantage of vertical space.  

So, the question remains, how do you provide a comfortable habitat for a guinea pig when your space is limited?

3 Guinea Pig Cage Ideas for Small Spaces

Configure the Pen to Maximize Your Space

Most commercially available guinea pig cages won’t meet the space requirements for your new pet.

For this reason, many experienced owners will recommend building your own C&C (cube & Coroplast) cage.

These use storage cube grids and a type of corrugated plastic called Coroplast, assembled with standard cube connectors and cable ties.

The best part about creating your own habitat is that you can customize it to the space that you have available.

For example, if the space available happens to be the corner of your room, you can maximize that space by setting up your cubes in a pyramid shape branching off from the corner.  

Related: ‘DIY Frozen Vegetable Treats for Guinea Pigs

Make Use of Storage Space Above/Below the Pen

While you can’t make use of vertical space to add to your guinea pig’s habitat, it can be used to help fit the pen into your home.

How? By maximizing your use of the space above or below the pen itself.

One of the most creative setups that I have seen was set up in a living room area.

It used 2 cube-style storage shelves, arranged back-to-back with a piece of wood on top to create a solid surface for the pen.

The storage shelves were used to store guinea pig supplies, crafting supplies, and more.

The best part? The fabric storage cubes used looked sharp and organized despite the wide variety of different items hidden away inside.

Alternatively, your guinea pig pen could extend below other furniture or structures in your home (as long as there is sufficient space).

I had a friend in high school whose guinea pig pen was largely situated beneath their television stand, extending out to one side.

The space under a piece of furniture like a tv stand or end table is often wasted. Why not take advantage of it?

Consider Creative Locations for Your Guinea Pig’s Habitat

Finally, try thinking outside the box when it comes to the potential locations that can be used to accommodate your new pet.

I once saw someone that created a coffee table that was 2/3 guinea pig pen with a solid table along the one end.

Not only did they still have a place to sit down their drinks, but they also had their new best friend with them every time they were hanging out in their main living space.

Tap into that creativity! Just keep your guinea pig’s safety and happiness in mind…

black and white guinea pig looking out the door of its cage with a bed of timothy hay beside it and the text '3 creative guinea pig cage ideas for small spaces'

Do you have any fun or unique guinea pig cage ideas for small spaces? I’d love to hear all about them in the comment section!

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56 Comments

  1. I hadn’t realised guinea pigs were such social creatures, that was interesting. Nor that they needed flat floor space. This is a really helpful post, Britt – genius idea about the coffee table too!

    1. Thank you! I wish I could take credit for the coffee table idea – I don’t know that I’ve ever seen something quite that creative before and instantly fell in love! Lol

  2. I used to have 2 guinea pigs when I was younger and luckily we had plenty of room for them. They had an outdoor cage with 2 floors and a big run to put them in during the day for a run around! I miss having guinea pigs, actually! They’re so cute!

    1. Excercise is SO important for them! My aunt used to just use a baby playpen style gate and allow them to run around the living room when we were watching a movie – we’d sit in the middle so they could come to us for attention haha

    1. Right? I am all about having our pets near us in our most used rooms – dog beds all around the living room (although they often just cuddle with us on the couch), cat blankets on the back of the couch, etc. If I was going to add a guinea pig to our house, I’d love having it close by with us like that!

    1. That guinea pig isn’t mine (I wish lol) but with all the animals currently in our house, adding a guinea pig right now would be a bit problematic! lol
      That’s the struggle – there are many areas where, due to the large population in an urban center, smaller living spaces are common. With the whole ‘tiny house’ movement, I think we’re going to see even more of that moving forward.

    1. It works as long as you don’t use it as a way to substitute for the floor space needed. Building up for storage, for example, vs adding a second story to compensate for a smaller first story.
      I’ve seen some great repurposed rabbit hutches 🙂

  3. Guinea pigs are so adorable. I’ve always wanted to get a couple of guinea pigs but I didn’t think I had enough space for them. Thanks for these great ideas.

    1. They are such sweet pets too! They love spending time together, will carry on a conversation and show emotion in a way that most smaller pets don’t!

    2. thanks for this! i’ve actually been wanting to have a little bugger in my house but it seems like too much responsibility! might just buy a cage first to see if i can even take care of that!

      1. They are a bit more work than most will say. Weekly full cage cleanings and daily care is more than just putting food in the cage and walking away. The cost is a bit more than just the Guinea and cage. Food, treats, fresh veggies daily, places for them to hide in the cage, hay for them to eat (and it’s messy). litter or bedding if you go with felt reusable or with paper. They also recommend you pick a pair not just one as they are social and do better with a friend.

        1. Yes, like any pet there is a lot more to consider than just the basics. Anyone considering bringing a pet into the family should do their research and be sure that they fully understand what they are committing to. That being said, with proper preparation, they really are incredible pets.

  4. Guinea Pigs are just such sweet and cute animals. I had no idea that they cannot use a wheel safetly, it’s definitely a fact which needs to be brought to the attention of pet owners around the world!

    1. Right? That’s a fact that I honestly learned just a few years ago. Before that, I never would have thought twice about offering one as an option.

  5. Oh Britt! The guinea pig in that picture is so cute. I have heard a whole lot about guinea pigs. They are so cute and lovely. I really loved this post as it taught me a lot about guinea pigs lol and man, your pig cage ideas for small spaces are so amazing! Your blog is the 1st pet blog I have seen and I love it!

    Ruth

  6. I didn’t know a hamster style wheel isn’t suited for guinea pigs, but I guess that explains why I’ve never seen one. I just always thought they were a bigger version of a hamster, but I guess not

  7. Britt, these are some great ideas for cages in small spaces. I don’t personally own a Guinea pig, but I do have a few friends who do. I’m sure they would enjoy the information on this post. I did take my girls to our local library and a woman there had a presentation on Guinea pigs. I remember her mentioning about getting creative with their spaces, and she did touch on how hamster excercise wheels were not something for Guinea pigs. Thank you for sharing for information.

    1. I’m glad to hear that she included the word of warning about the exercise wheels. I feel like that’s the biggest misconception out there right now regarding guinea pigs.

  8. A coffee table pen sounds amazing! I love seeing tubes all over the place, becoming a sort of feature in the house instead of a simple cage.

    1. They are adorable pets but it can definitely be challenging to ensure that they have enough room in a smaller space. You have to get creative!

  9. I’ve never been a fan of guinea pigs but yours is a cutie and you’re always changing my perspective abut having pets. Anyway, great post for those with guinea pigs or those who are thinking about having them.

  10. Love the idea of utilising space around a piece of furniture, especially in the living room so you can keep each other company! Aren’t guinea pigs the animal always recommended to keep in pairs so they do not get lonely? Would need a nice big cage in that case too.

    1. Yes, they are VERY social creatures and, in most cases, we simply aren’t able to provide enough socialization to keep them happy. They need to have a friend there with them at all times.

  11. I just marvel at how creative are some people with their pets! I learned so much from this post, one of them is that I would not have enough patience to create a healthy environment for a guinea pig. And those are important lessons, too!

    1. Those are definitely important lessons! It’s better to know ahead of time whether or not you are prepared to provide everything that a specific pet will need. That way, if you do bring a pet into the house, you’ll know that it’s a good match that will result in everyone being happy.

  12. We had a lot of animals and birds in our house when we were young including rabbits. But a guinea pig would have been such a cute animal to add. Great knowledgeable post. Thanks for that.

    1. Thank you! We had a lot of different pets too but never had a guinea pig growing up. However, my cousin had a couple. We would go over to her house and play with them all the time because they were so adorable.

  13. I had a guinea pig when I was a kid (loooong before the internet and information being so readily available) and I’m guessing that his cage was too small. It seemed huge, but not after reading this. He would pee outside of the cage quite often, and we had to put down doggy pads around it. After reading this, I wonder if that less than pleasing habit had something to do with the size of his cage.

    1. It very well could have! There’s a good chance that it was trying to keep enough space clean to move about and be active. That meant that there just wasn’t space in it’s cage, it decided, for it to also go to the bathroom there… Although, using doggy pads around it was a great solution!

    2. Same here. My kids had guniea pigs back in the 90’s…gift from grandma. I feel so bad now looking back because very important info was not as easily attainable. I was always talking about the piggies so my son got me Snickers a year and a half ago. Then Tatty joined us a few months later for my birthday. I read every article I find on guniea pigs now.

  14. very cute. guinea pigs are wonderful companions especially for people who can not have a bigger pet due to size. as they live in a cage it’s easy to handle as well

    1. Definitely, and they are more social than some of the other smaller options like fish. They actually want to interact with you and form a bond.

  15. I would love to add a guinea pig to our home. They are so adorable and friendly. I just have been debating on whether a new pet is an option for us anytime soon. So many darling creatures to consider.

  16. I would love to have guinea pigs one day! I looked after my friend’s guinea pig a couple of years ago while she was on holiday and I loved it. These are really helpful space-saving tips! xx

  17. We are recent Guinea Pig owners as a friend didn’t realize the amount of work was involved in taking care of them. So we adopted 2x brothers in Dec, Honey + Jelly (our kids renamed them from Marshall and Charles). I am really surprised how good of a pet they are for children. My kids care for them a lot and help with all the cleaning and feeding which they don’t do for our other animals hahaha. The bedding was starting to add up so my wife started making her own fleece bedding that we replace everyday and then wash at the end of the week. They are very cute and just brings a smile to your face whenever you look at them.

    1. They are GREAT pets for kids! I love the idea with the fleece bedding – that’s a great tip to not only save money but also to help minimize your impact on the environment.

  18. I got a stacked cage for my 2 piggies because it didn’t take as much space, it had iron bars on the bottom so I put some cardboard over it but i know its to small, i orderd another cage but i didn’t have room for it! I’m currently using paper bedding i wish i could do more for them its so tiny they cant even run around so I’ve been putting towls down and letting them out almost everyday is that okay?

    1. While it’s obviously not the ideal situation, as you pointed out, we sometimes have to find solutions to fit those less than ideal living arrangements. Right? The fact that you’re taking the time to take your pigs out daily to get exercise is a good way to keep them happy and healthy when you are limited on the space that you can provide them at this time.