You can control how much padding you want between your panels, and/or decide which sections/actions you want to hide all your panels in. This is done by going to: "Admin > TinyPortal > Panels & Blocks > Panel + Settings". Panels do have additional settings like setting the width, hide while in forum, and various layouts for your blocks inside. For these additional panel settings, go to: "Admin > TinyPortal > Panels & Blocks > (area) + Panel".User:
Assuming the admin has given you or your membergroup permission to do so, each panel can be collapsed and ignored. This is an On-The-Fly setting on the frontpage of the site, often controlled by little images/icons located below the copyright...