You can find a great deal of parity between good stand mounted monitors and floor standers if you are using a subwoofer (or even without if you are looking at good monitors).
For<$1,000 I'd look at the receiver, 2 mains and maybe a sub route. You can find some smoking deals on refurb units on eBay or across the web. Add two decent speakers (PSB Image B5, Paradigm Atoms or Titans) and a decen t sub and you'll be impressed.
Example: Harmon Kardon refurb AVR 2600 ~$275, PSB Image B5 ~$400 (MSRP) and elemental Designs A2-250 $325. ~$1,000
If you are looking at getting into surround sound from the start then you will be looking at more home theater in a box style speaker systems. Some can sound pretty darn good, such as the previously mentioned Energy Take system. Tied to a decent AVR (again, I'd probably look at Audiogon, eBay, the classified section here or else where for this) and an affordable ID sub from eD, SVS, Hsu and you can be set at that budget.
If it were me I'd go with 2 better speakers and a sub to start.
Augustine's Law: "The last 10% of performance generates one-third of the cost and two-thirds of the problems."
"If it works the first time, it's not high end." ~ Harry Pierson