I think throw pillows look great with goose down/feather inserts. The poofy-ness and the squishy-ness scream luxury. On the other hand, fiberfill inserts fall kind of flat but they are very affordable and readily available. But I need down/feather inserts for the throw pillows in my house and I have figured out a way to find them for less than $5 a piece! They aren’t that expensive, but I see no need to buy new when I can reuse and save money at the same time while getting the look I love.
Even though the pillow racks at thrift stores might give you the willies, (you know, dust, mildew, etc.) I have learned over the years not to be afraid of thrift store throw pillows. You just need to be brave and give those dusty old pillows a little squeeze. You can easily identify a down/feather insert vs. fiberfill. When you find a pillow with a squishy-feather filled feel, buy it!
Once you buy the pillow, remove the cover (you should probably do it outside where you don’t have to worry about the dusty stuff) and stick the pillow in the washing machine. Long ago, I worked at an upscale bedding boutique (before the days of the internet and before Bed, Bath and Beyond). We specialized in high quality Canadian goose down products. We learned from the company manufacturing those goose down products to never use soap when laundering down, and that dry-cleaning is not necessarily the best way to go. The soap or dry-cleaning chemicals cling to the down, giving it extra weight, and causing the down to be less fluffy. So, do NOT use soap, just use HOT water. Hot water should be enough to kill anything alive in there (ew 🙂 ).
Then put the pillows in the dryer for a LONG, LONG time. The down/feathers have to be completely dry or ick will grow in them. Use dryer balls or tennis balls, and take the pillow out to fluff it during the dry time, making sure the whole pillow interior is getting dry. Once I am convinced they are dry, I leave them on the drying rack for a few days… Then throw them back in the dryer for another hour just to be sure.
Right now I have a lot of pillows to make – I haven’t updated my pillow-look for years. It is a good thing I have plenty of down pillow inserts, thanks to brave thrift-store squeezing. You can do it too!