Tom and Steve helped lay it, and I am GLAD they did. I can't imagine if Jane and I had tried to do it ourselves. It's not so much that the laminate is hard to put down, but there is just a lot of figuring and planning that needs to be done that I would have never thought about. Tom's experience made a huge difference. It also helped that Greg loaned us a table saw. That saved a TON of time.
We started on it Friday and worked from around 12:30-6 pm. The hardest part is the start. We probably didn't have the first row down for about two hours. After that it went pretty quickly and we got all but the last 42 inches done the length of the room (28 ft). The two doorways into the kitchen were the hardest part, along with where the wall cut back a foot and a half.
Saturday we worked from about 2 pm until 6 pm. Again, the first board took the longest, and just the closet in general. I wasn't even going to put laminate in the closet, because I thought it would be too much of a pain (plus there was tile part-way into it), but Tom and Steve thought we should, and I'm glad we did because it looks much better. Then all we had to do was go around three register vents along the wall, and figure out how to do it around the front door.
After Tom and Steve left I cleaned it off with a dust mop and it looks REALLY, REALLY nice. I am way happy that we went with the laminate, and especially this color. All that's left to do is put down the shoe molding all around the edges, put a little brown caulk in front of the door (and maybe in front of the registers), patch the plaster along the front door and replace the piece of molding on the one side, put the transition pieces down going into the kitchen, and maybe get a piece to put along the front doorway. I just can't believe how it changed the look of the room. I like it. A lot. After all that is done (or maybe before) we need to get some new curtains and that room will be ready. I really dislike the green sheer curtains now, but we still haven't decided whether to go with brown, maroon, or something funky.
Also, while we were doing the floor Jane was busy finishing up the painting. All the upstairs rooms have been painted, and all that's left is touching up the trim. So I think all we have left to do inside the house besides that is to clean the bedroom wood floors that we uncovered (though I am wondering if we might want to refinish 2 of them), and get curtains. I still have no idea when we might be moving - maybe in another few weeks - but we're getting closer.
Here are a few pics of the living room, from beginning to its present condition.
The living room as it was when we bought it.
Living room after painting, but before carpet removal.
Living room after carpet removal, but before new floor.
Living room with new flooring.