In pictures: Eight traditional Swedish tiled stoves

The traditional Swedish masonry stove (kakelugn) is still a popular feature in many homes today.'s Amanda Strömberg has found out more.

In pictures: Eight traditional Swedish tiled stoves
A tiled stove. Photo: Wrede Fastighetsmäkleri

A fireplace spreads warmth and adds a unique character to any home. These tiled stoves continue to be an efficient source of heat, or just an eyecatching piece of decoration, even after 300 years.

The tiled stove was actually developed in southern Germany and only came to Sweden in the late Middle Ages. In the 16th century, King Johan III had stoves built at Kalmar and Borgholm Castles. They were, at the time, an energy-guzzling construction. During the 18th century, the iron industry caused a wood shortage, which meant that people urgently needed fireplaces that helped retain the heat in the house.

Two Swedes, Carl Johan Cronstedt and Fabian Wrede, invented a genius solution that became the start of modern Swedish housing.

Golden age

The tiled stove was a popular source of heat until the First World War. Then, when the central heating system was introduced, people enjoyed the radiator’s smokeless heat. Many of the stoves were torn out and thrown on dumps. Today, however, the tiled stove is making a comeback, largely because of rising energy prices and an increased interest in culture. They guarantee higher value if you consider selling the property.

Greenhouse - An ode to the power and diversity of nature

Efficient heat

A stove should not just be a delight to the eye, it should also heat the home efficiently. But how does it work? Well, a tiled stove is designed to maintain the heat from a fire as long as possible. Experts created a labyrinth of vertical passageways that the heat must be passed through, and thus the stove retains the heat longer than from the kind of heat sources that emit heat directly into the room and the chimney. A tiled stove quickly reaches about 8kW and is a good way to heat up a room quickly, while a fireplace comes up to a pleasant 2kW approximately three hours after the fire is lit. It then keeps the heat for hours, often all night.

Nordenskiöldsgatan 5

How often should you top up the firewood?

Add more firewood carefully and with common sense. There is no point in filling up the fireplace with a lot of wood, it is designed to take care of the heat there is and manage it well. Approximately two to three fires per day is a good measuring stick to best preserve your stove, reduce accidents and save the neighbours from any bad odours. Remember that it takes a few hours before your stove gets hot, but it will radiate the heat longer. This kind of stove almost makes you want to throw your arms around it after a cold walk.

Trädgårdsgatan 7

Beautiful patterns from the mid-18th century

When the Rococo style entered Sweden, everything suddenly became larger, curvier and more colourful. The inspiration came mainly from Chinese designs and it was not unusual to use patterns from blue-white tableware on the stoves. The motifs were painted by hand on each tile, in cobalt blue, yellow, green or brown violet but during this period most commonly on a white background.


Simplicity in the beginning of the 19th-century

During the Empire style of the Napoleonic era, the stoves were simple and unusually low. This was so that you would have room for a big trophy or statue at the top – a multifunctional form of furniture had been created. The stoves were normally all white with sparse decor, just as in the picture above.

Allrum - en lounge med rymd och känsla

Old meets new at the end of the 19th century

Shapes from past eras started to reappear again. The stoves were adapted for upper-class ideals where different rooms were decorated in their unique style. For example, a room could be decorated in a neo-renaissance style and then have a stove with relief patterned tiles in various dark colours. The stoves used to be all white in the same period, plain and simple. And did you know those are the stoves that are the most popular ones in Sweden today? You can’t help but wonder what the historical upper-class people would have said if they knew that.


Low-key design in the beginning of the 20th century

All white, clean and stylish – that was the preferred design when the Art Nouveau style was popular. Stoves were decorated sparingly with occasional reliefs from the plant kingdom. Even painted patterns occurred.

Strandvägen 49

Interested in a classic tiled stove?

Contact your local stove-builder to have a look at how a classic tiled stove could be installed in your home. They cost up to 100,000 kronor ($11,600), but if they are built correctly, stoves can decrease electricity costs – and they are so much better looking than a radiator too.

Get more inspiration in The Local's Homes section

Come see more Nordic lifestyle, design and architecture over at and

For members


MORTGAGE Q&A: Your questions on Swedish interest rates answered

In the second part of our property Q&A, we answer reader questions on when interest rates will start going down, as well as how and when to negotiate rates with your bank.

MORTGAGE Q&A: Your questions on Swedish interest rates answered

In a post on Facebook, we asked The Local’s readers to submit their questions on property. Here’s the first part of that article, where we discuss questions like whether it’s better to buy or rent, whether to buy a house or apartment, and if house prices have stabilised.

In this article, we answer questions to do with interest rates and mortgages.

When will interest rates start going down?

Sweden’s interest rates currently stand at 2.5 percent, with the next key interest rate meeting (where the Riksbank will decide whether to alter interest rates or not) scheduled for February 9th. 

These meetings take place roughly two months, with further meetings scheduled for April 26th, June 29th, September 20th and November 22nd this year.

Most analysts expect the bank to increase the policy rate by 0.50 points at this meeting. Handelsbanken’s chief economist Christina Nyman told the TT newswire that she expects another rate increase in April to 3.25 percent, after which rates will stay at that level for some time.

Nordea’s economists have the same prognosis, while experts at Swedbank expect a further increase in June to a peak of 3.5 percent.

Danske Bank predicts that the Riksbank will raise rates by 0.5 percentage points in February to 3 percent total, with a possible second hike of 0.25 percent predicted for April, depending on inflation in the first quarter of 2023.

In terms of drops in the interest rate, it predicts that rates will remain high throughout 2023, with the Riksbank waiting until 2024 to lower the rate by a total of 1 percentage point.

What is the new normal for interest rates going to be?

As above, we can expect rates to rise and remain high throughout this year, dropping to around 2.25 percent in 2024, if Danske Bank’s predictions are correct.

This is slightly lower than the current level of 2.5 percent, so it looks like we can expect things to get worse for at least a year, after which rates will be slightly lower than they are currently.

Essentially, don’t expect rates to drop to the same low or even negative levels they have been in recent years any time soon.

How do you negotiate interest rates with the bank?

The first time you negotiate your interest rates will be when you buy your property. You might be keen to get a deal sorted as quickly as possible so you know your purchase has been finalised, but negotiating a good rate is important as it can literally save you thousands – or even tens of thousands – of kronor over the course of a year.

Firstly, do your research. This includes using price comparison tools such as Compricer or Konsumenternas, but also looking at individual websites of mortgage providers and comparing interest rates there.

Make sure you look at both listräntor (the advertised interest rates) and snitträntor (the average rates people were actually given in recent months) to get an idea of what you should be paying, and remember, the listränta is a starting point for negotiations rather than a fixed offer.

Check if your bank offers any discounts for moving your pension over or opening an account with them, or rewards for energy-efficient properties, for example.

Many banks have a calculator on their website allowing you to use a sliding scale to alter the size of your deposit and see how that affects your interest rate, so make sure to have a look to see if you can get any discounts there, too. Some banks will offer you a discount if your belåningsgrad (the size of your loan compared to your deposit) is lower, so consider buying a slightly cheaper property or putting in more cash, if you can.

Here’s our article on how to get the best rate on your mortgage for more advice.

When should I renegotiate?

In general, you should consider renegotiating your interest rate when your fixed-term rate expires (variable rates are technically fixed for three months, so this applies to all types of mortgage). You may be able to get a better deal if you qualify for any new discounts or if your circumstances have changed for any other reason, such as if you’ve paid off enough of your loan that your belåningsgrad is significantly lower than when you applied.

If you renegotiate your interest rate before your fixed-term rate has expired, you will be charged ränteskillnadsersättning (literally: “interest difference compensation”) to compensate the bank for the loss of income between the point at which you renegotiate your loan and the point your current rate was due to expire, so you may not be any better off financially than if you’d just kept paying the same rate of interest.

If you have a variable rate, however, you won’t be charged ränteskillnadsersättning for renegotiating your loan before the date your current interest rate is due to expire.