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How to Remove Temporary Upgrades from an Apartment

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Let’s learn how to remove temporary upgrades from an apartment or rental home. You may even increase your chances to get your deposit back when you remove temporary decor from your apartment.


Have you added temporary (removable) ‘style’ to your rental home, apartment, or dorm?

If you have, then we are in the same community-pool! 😉

emove temporary decor ugly countertop with hairdryer and screwdriver

Current My Wee Abode family members know that there have been some big changes around here this year!

But, if you are new to My Wee Abode, welcome and get caught-up here! (And, to get the latest and greatest updates, including access to our Printable Library, click on the button below!)

button that says count me in

One of the most recent changes (it just happened in April), is that I moved from My Wee Abode (the OG) to the new My Wee Abode 2.0!

introducing my wee abode again living area with moving mess
Prettier photos are coming soon! I promise!

However, before I moved out of the original MWA, I had some movin’ AND “REmovin'” to do.

This post may contain affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my complete disclosure HERE.

Remove Temporary Decor the Easy Way

And today, I’m going to share with you:

  • How to remove adhesive film from a laminate countertop
  • Removing temporary board-and-batten
  • Easy removal of decals that look like wallpaper
  • Removal of open shelving from a studio apartment kitchenette
  • And, whether or not you can get your deposit back after using temporary upgrades in an apartment or rental home

Just like the post where I introduced you to the new My Wee Abode, this post ain’t the prettiest.

But, I think it’s a great way to answer the question of whether or not the temporary upgrades were actually… temporary!

Spoiler alert… they were and are!

How to Remove Adhesive Film from a Laminate Countertop

My DIY’d faux marble contact paper countertops is by far one of the favorite posts here at My Wee Abode.

diy cheap countertops contact paper kitchen with wood cabinets and marble look counter top with open shelving with white and aqua decor

However, my landlord let me know that they were planning on keeping the countertops because they felt they were in good condition. So, the adhesive had to go!

remove temporary decor ugly countertop with hairdryer and screwdriver
Man, I just can’t. >.<

You really only need a few items to remove adhesive film from a countertop:

  • Hair Dryer
  • Goo Gone
  • and, if possible, an extra set of arms… preferably strong ones!

I’m telling you… this adhesive really stuck! I am super thankful to my daughter for coming over and lending me her hands and arms.

Even between the two of us, this was a chore! It took probably an hour to remove the contact paper from the countertops. (Just keepin’ it real!)

The process was simple, but it DID take some time to heat the contact paper and pull a bit here and bit there as we went.

  1. Using a hair dryer, heat the adhesive film and pull away from counter top.
  2. After removing film, check for any leftover adhesive and remove with Goo Gone, as directed.

The process went a bit faster once we learned this:

And that’s it! The adhesive film left no damage behind!

In the future, I would definitely choose to cover a laminate countertop with vinyl adhesive film again.

Removing Temporary “Board-and-Batten”

The temporary accent wall in the living area, as well as the trim in the updated bathroom needed to come down, as well.

create temporary accent wall living area with furniture and decor with feature wall

THIS removal process was much easier… it took about 5 minutes!

hammer removing wood trim from wall
  • All you need is… a hammer.

Simply take the claw part of the hammer and gently pull away the wood where the nails are inserted. The trim and nails easily ‘pop’ away.

remove temporary decor wall with wood trim in corner and step stool

And, I didn’t even fill the tiny nail holes. After living there for 6 years, it wasn’t required. 🙂

Easily Remove Temporary Decals from a Wall

The Modern Coastal Bathroom Makeover was given a wallpaper-look with vinyl decals I created with my Cricut Explorer.

how to use vinyl decals for a wallpaper look bathroom wall with frog tape and vinyl decal leaves in bathroom

Again, the landlord wanted to paint (even though I had recently painted the bathroom myself), so the vinyl decal ‘wallpaper’ needed to be removed (along with the afore mentioned wood trim).

This process was also quite easy, and actually satisfying. LOL!

To remove vinyl decals from a wall, take a hook weeder and lift the decal and peel away.

I find that no residue is left from the vinyl wall decals, and my landlord never even knew they had been there!

bathroom with blank wall and counter with cleaning and construction tools

Removal of Open Shelving from a Studio Kitchenette

The tiny kitchen at My Wee Abode never was an actual kitchen.

You read that right. I lived in a loft apartment for 6 years without a kitchen and very little cabinet space.

Did you know that you can create a kitchen with a few appliances and a lot of open shelving?

tiny apartment kitchen with dark cabinets and white island with fall decor

Again, my landlord decided she wanted everything put back the way it was when I moved in. So, down came the shelves.

And this time, I enlisted my brother and his power tools to remove the wood and hardware. It took him all of 5 minutes to remove the shelving.

Several large holes were left, and I DID fill those and sand them, but I didn’t paint them. 😉

Wouldn’t you know it, I forgot to take a photo before I gave my keys back. Too much on my mind at the time!

Can You Get Your Apartment Deposit Back After Removing Temporary Upgrades?

Well, it seems you can get your deposit back on your apartment when you use temporary upgrades…

Because I did!

Now, this post is no guarantee that you will receive your apartment deposit back after removing temporary decor. That can depend on SO many things, including whether or not you have a fair and reasonable landlord. Which I did!

When My Wee Abode was all empty and cleaned, my landlord and I did a walk-through. She exclaimed how happy she was with how the place looked, and was very thankful for having me as a tenant for six years.

And, of course, I felt the same way about her. She was a very good and fair landlord, and a Christian sister, as well! We hugged and I drove off.

Later that evening, she texted me to let me know that I would be receiving my full deposit back!

There are so many things that I miss about the OG My Wee Abode. But, I must say, there are LOTS of things that I am thankful for at MWA 2.0 that were missing from 1.0 (like a washer/dryer, a dishwasher, vaulted ceilings, an elevator, LVP floors, and so much more that I will be sharing soon!)

So, are you surprised that my landlord wanted everything take down? Which item most surprised you that needed to be removed? Tell me what you think in the comments below. Your input makes my day!

signature updated 2022

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  1. Hi Julie
    This is a great post! What a great tenant and owner.
    I can’t help but think about us waiting to hear if our youngest is going to get his deposit back after his college rental moveout. My husband oversaw that and said it was going to be iffy at best!

  2. I’m surprised she wanted anything removed! It was all an improvement…especially the bathroom and “kitchen”! Glad it all worked out though and you got your deposit back. Looking forward to all your new projects at My Wee Abode 2.0!

  3. I guess removal of the shelves surprised me the most as they add so much to a almost bare area. Also the bathroom was so cute and didn’t look like it needed painting but to each his own. I’m sure you will enjoy the extras at the new appt. Hope everything is working out well for you.
    I just attended the 100 year birthday of my uncle & it was so fun seeing all the cousins there from all over. Texas, New York, Florida all came to Iowa where everyone was originally from. Now for graduation parties.

    1. Yes, Fernie… you just never know what people are thinking. The shelves surprised me the most, too! Sounds like you had a wonderful time with your uncle and fam! Have fun with those grad parties!

  4. I can’t believe your landlord wanted you to take anything taken down. You made so many positive improvements: the bathroom, the shelves, the accent wall. You really made your apartment a home.What a wonderful tenant you are, Julie!
    So glad you got your deposit back.

    1. Thank you, Suzanne. It didn’t make much sense to me either. However, I think she was happy I left the medicine cabinet and a couple other items. Not to mention the ugly shower tile surround that now looks perfect! 😉

  5. Your kitchen shelves were so useful (and attractive) that I’m surprised that she wanted those taken down.

  6. That landlord is lacking in brain cells or style. One of the other! I get why she said no to the laminate counter tops but honestly, they looked sooooo much better. And the board and batten?! Crazy. Anyway, glad you have a whole new place to work on and make it just the way you like it. I know it will look fabulous, just like my wee abode did.

    1. Yeah… I think the craziest thing was having to remove the open shelving! Like, so helpful and pretty!

  7. WOW. This is a great post, just to show how to remove each of those improvements, and which ones required you to do the post-op fill-ins. Good for you, getting the entire deposit back! (ps, personally I think the landlord should’ve left the shelving and reimbursed you!)

    1. LOL, Rita! I agree about the open shelving. Silly to not leave and upgrade that will help future tenants. 😉

  8. I would think she would want the shelving left as is. It added so much-needed space to the area. I’m sure the next person to move in would have been thankful for the extra space for dishes.

  9. I would have kept all the upgrade you made in your apartment if I was the landlord. I think her next tenant would have appreciated it all! Good luck in your new place. Can’t wait to see what kind of upgrades you’ll do here!

    1. I TOTALLY agree with you, Catherine. Silly decisions were made, for sure! 😉 Hop on over to my newest post! The summer tour is up!

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