If you shop at a thrift store like this:
Then you are likely to find pillows like this:
(only not so bright and nice looking)
Buying thrift pillows is a great way to reuse and keep your costs down, but there are a few things you should know.
1. existing trim doesn't matter, but do buy the size and shape you want.
2. existing color only matters if you will be recovering in a light colored fabric, but you can always strip off all the existing fabric and make a simple muslin form
3. smell does matter! specifically cigarette smoke. you will be washing your pillows before use while will take out almost any musty smell, but cigarette smoke will only intensify in the drying process. so, before you buy, take a whiff.
Washing and Drying
1. add a scoop of oxy-clean or other like cleaner to your detergent
2. I like to wash them on hot just to be safe
3. dry them with a tennis ball in the dryer, the ball will help beat out the internal wetness and fluff them.
4. re-cover and enjoy your awesome new pillows.