What oddity are you trying to avoid?
Reducing the height is what I have been doing here to facilitate all the app launchers I add to the panel.
In addition I create a second panel which can auto hide and put the Smooth Tasks widget in that panel, giving me nearly the full width of the bottom panel for launchers.
Thank God I have pretty good eye sight at present. Big icons wasting screen space annoy me.
In the current set-up the PC icon, Show Desktop icon and Dolphin icon almost take up the entire vertical space of panel with insufficient padding. (On careful observation PC and Dolphin icons are disproportionate compared to Show Desktop)
I like to have both date and time displayed one above the other in the Date Time widget as it is. Lowering of panel height causes them to show horizontally increasing the space they occupy.
I have tried auto-hiding panels before and they irritate due to 2 reasons.
1 - I do not get to see their content without mouse over.
2. An accidental mouse over causes their appearance.
I will attach a picture of my ideal looking bottom panel. (It will be from my Windows XP and using Classic theme. So no transparency although I love transparency in PCLinuxOS.)