I’ve used about 6 different LCD projectors, for sales presentations, seminars, and used them to watch movies at home and on the road. If you aren’t interested in extreme portability, you can get some decent older models fairly inexpensively. Look for refurbished or used rentals for an even greater bargain.
For home theater use, you should have good control over the lighting environment, so you can get by with less lumens, maybe as little as 800. Sound is going to be a major consideration. Most of them use pretty intrusive fans to keep the lamp from melting, so check the decibel levels. A lot of projectors come with (crappy) speakers, but I wouldn’t use them.
The major features I’d look for in a home projector are 1) resolution – will it look good?, 2) lumens – will I be able to see the screen without tripping over the dog?, 3) noise – can I hear the movie?, 4) lamp hours/cost of replacement – do I need to refinance the mortgage to afford it?
Although a white wall works OK, you will get your best results using a projector screen. As far as manufacturers, I had great luck with Sony and Canon. There are a lot of vendors, and you can probably rent before you buy – so you could do in-home testing.