The pineapple traditionally symbolizes "welcome" and hospitality, as well as friendship, generosity, and other forms of social warmth and graciousness. This is particularly true in the southern United States and in areas on the Eastern Seaboard.
Europeans first discovered the pineapple in 1493, when Columbus and his sailors came across the fruit during their travels; the pineapple was particularly popularized in seaports on the West Indian trade route. Columbus and his men introduced the pineapple to Europe, but Europeans soon found that they could not grow pineapples in local climates; as such, they were imported from tropical areas and only the wealthy were able to afford them, which gave pineapples a certain prestige. It was this reputation that led to pineapples finding their way into European and American architectural designs of the 18th century on residential, public and sectarian buildings. This trend has not faded over time.
They are most often found around main entrances, foyers and fireplace mantles. Though the pineapple is no longer rare or overly expensive, the meaning behind it remains. It is still commonly found in architecture and furniture designs, as well as in home decor, such as dishes, towels, accent pieces and door knockers. Welcome mats are also often adorned with pineapples.