Whatever suits your tastes. If you can't look at enough other installations, play with your projector on a white wall to get a feel for maximum size at ~1.0 gain with whatever contrast settings you're comfortable with, play with some samples to get a feel for hot spotting/color shift, and extrapolate some.
Recomendations will vary from 1.3 gain @ 6' wide up to 12' at 1.0. Other options include higher (1.8-6.0) gain flat and curved screens sized somewhat between those extremes.
Personally, I could go a bit over my 87" wide @ 1.3 gain without exceeding the factory contrast setting (80). The 1.3 gain point is about where color shift isn't noticeable and hot spotting is just noticeable on solid colored (not video) images.
Sorry this doesn't help much - although the required light output, acceptable levels of color shift+hot spotting, and acceptable contrast levels (for tube wear) are personal issues.
Honestly, I'm not exactly sure what I want. This will be first experience with a CRT Projector, or any projector for that matter. The room I'm putting this in is really large. Without seeing the tradeoffs first hand, I'm having a hard time deciding. So, I decided to make a 120" screen, and see what that looks like and go from there. I was going to try different size images and see what I liked, and go from there. Maybe, masking the screen or just cutting it down.
Your first projector makes things more complicated because you don't have a good frame of reference for theatrical scale images in your home. When I got my 1292 (first and only), I was afraid that its inability to focus on screens under 6' wide would not work in my room (19' long). Now I find that 87" wide scope movies are watchable at about the same seating distance I had with my 32" interlaced Wega.
I played with it a bit, and figured 87" wide with the front row at 12' would be ideal (1.66 widths). Bought an 87"x49" screen, ran conduit + ventilation ducts, ceiling mounted my side surrounds at the 12' mark.... and after living with that I found that 11' (1.5 widths) was ideal for flat films. But I prefer a folding chair about 8.5' back (1.17 widths) for scope movies....
Try a 6' wide setup that you sit proportionally closer to - the punch and 3D feel you get on smaller screens is _wonderful_. Try different aspect ratios - I found DBS unwatchable on a 4:3 screen wide enough to give me a cinematic feel.
Just make sure your temporary setup isn't going to move any - I set mine up on the shipping crate lid and neglected to screw the lid back on, and had to tweak convergance before nearly every movie.
I just installed my 1292 at 96 wide with a viewing distance of 12 ft and it looks stunning with a HD 1080i input. Looking at standard def after HD is a real let down at this size however. Source material is important in considering screen size as well as the brightness mentioned above.
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