From Atlas Etnográfico de Vasconia
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Living room or dining room fittings


In general, the dining room was rarely used in the past, only during the patron saint's festivities, solemn celebrations and to mark family events, even though it was always clean and well kept. It was sometimes located near to the kitchen either on the ground or first floor, and when the kitchen was downstairs, it sometimes could be on the upper floor.

Furthermore, the term “living room” or “dining room” was found sometimes to be used interchangeably, and the dining room is even called salea, the living room, in some Basque-speaking locations. The difference between both rooms came subsequently, when the dining room began to be used for meals and celebrations, and the living room as the place to gather together and relax. However, a single room was and continues to be used for both purposes in many places.

In general, the living room was used in the past as a dining room for special events, such as holiday meals, wakes, weddings, etc. The 1980s marked the start of the remodelling of many houses, which has changed the use of the different living spaces.

Bedroom fittings


Some of the people surveyed differentiated between the main bedroom and the other rooms. In the first of the cases, the furniture of the room of the older couple if there are two couples or both usually had the best furniture.

There could be double or single beds in the bedrooms. In the past, the beds were very simple and were boards on four legs. The bedstead was made up of a network of thick ropes, on which the chaff bed, consisting of corn husks in a burgundy canvas cover. A wool mattress was placed on the chaff bed. Linen sheets were placed on the mattress and topped with a quilt with a linen cover. The headboard was made out of wool with a canvas cover.

According to the information gathered in the surveys, the oldest beds that the people interviewed could remember were made out of iron and these were followed by the wooden trundle or other styles of beds.

Washing facilities and fittings

Outhouse or toilet

In the past, the majority of houses did not have a toilet until the arrival of running water and therefore people saw to their needs in the stable, on the dunghill, in the pens or on wasteland.

In general, the following timeline can be established for the changes that occurred in household bathrooms: in the 1940s and 1950s, the first washrooms appeared and which consisted of a toilet, sink and mirror. The bathtubs and showers were added later in the 1960s and 1970s. Full bathrooms, in other words, those that have a toilet, sink, towel rails, bidet, shower or bath, date back to the 1980s.

Washing facilities

In general, it can be said that the morning ablutions took place in the kitchen.

Musical instruments. Radio, television and new technologies

Musical instruments

People in many of the places surveyed remember that the musical instruments that they used to have at home were made by hand by older people particularly for the enjoyment of the children.

In general, it should be noted that, except for what has already been discussed, there were not many houses with musical instruments as there were hardly any people who knew how to play them until young people began to learn music and to attend music schools. In the past, it was also common to play by ear, except in those places with a choral tradition and where there was an organist or music teacher. One exception was the towns with a large population that had a municipal band, as, in addition to having more musical instruments, there were people who could read music and its theory.

Radio, television and new technologies

In rural areas, the first radios and particularly the first television sets were generally in parish rooms or social clubs where the local residents would to listen and to watch the programmes being broadcast. The surveys also revealed that during the Spanish Civil War people would gather around a radio set to listen to the war reports and how the fighting was going. Initially, only wealthy families and then bars had radios, the sets were larger and were usually placed on a mantelpiece or on the kitchen tables. They would be covered with a cloth or fitted with curtains so they did not get stained. The people also explained that both devices were considered to provide company for the elderly and those people who were housebound.

As regards television sets, it was generally reported that they came into use in the 1960s, were used in homes in the 1970s and colour television arrived in the following decade.

The television set was initially in the kitchen as it often was and is the place where the family spent most time, though some were kept in the living room. Nowadays, particularly in urban housing, there are several radio and television sets around the house: in the kitchen, in the living room and in the bedrooms. Some surveys showed that this situation is more common when they are young people who like to have a television in their room. Some old radios are now used as an ornament.