This paper examines how the individual variations of chair type, row spacing, as well as the presence of occupants and carpet, combine to influence the absorption characteristics of theater chairs as a function of sample perimeter-to-area (P/A) ratios. Scale models were used to measure the interactive effects of the four test variables on the chair absorption characteristics, avoiding the practical difficulties of full scale measurements. All of the test variables led to effects that could lead to important changes to auditorium acoustics conditions. At mid and higher frequencies, the various effects can usually be explained as due to, more or less, porous absorbing material. In the 125 and 250 Hz octave bands, the major changes were attributed to resonant absorbing mechanisms. The results indicate that for accurate predictions of the effective absorption of the chairs in an auditorium, one should use the P/A method and reverberation chamber tests of the chair absorption coefficients to predict the absorption coefficients of each block of chairs and use these results as input in a room acoustics computer model of the auditorium. The application of these results to auditorium acoustics design is described, more approximate approaches are considered, and relations to existing methods are discussed.