Thanks to everyone who has offered their suggestions so far!
A few clarifications, I suggested towers for the front speakers because this system will be in a rather large, open-concept living room. Living room is roughly 15' x 20', with a sloped ceiling (9' at TV location, 20' at rear "half wall"). The rear "half wall" is the top of the sloped ceiling, and then a kitchen with 9' ceilings behind that. Kitchen connects to an entry-way and dining room. The staircase to an upstairs loft area is also open to the living room, as is a 12' x 12' sunroom that has french doors which can close.
So with all of that said, these speakers will be filling a LARGE space. It is also a living room, so aesthetics must be good and two subs has about a 0.0001% chance of happening, one will cause enough problems!
The 3.1 system doesn't have to be capable of creating an earthquake or providing reference-level clarity, but I do want to have a setup that will create as enveloping of a listenting environment as possible from 10' away.
The receiver and subwoofer budgets provide several options for about $1000 and $750, respectively. So ultimately I'd like to know what L/C/R speaker combination would perform best in these tough situations for around $2,000 combined for the three.
Video - Panasonic VT50 55" | Panasonic BDT320
AVR - Denon X4000 | Sherbourn PA 7-350
Speakers - JTR Noesis 228HT | DIY Sound Group Volt V10 | JTR Captivator S2